CAPE TOWN – Golden Arrow Bus Service, in partnership with the department of health and transport has launched a pop-up vaccination site at the Arrowgate Depot in Montana.

This forms part of the October Transport Month programme and the provincial vaccination drive.

Golden Arrow transports about 250 000 passengers daily.

Western Cape health MEC, Dr Nomafrench Mbombo, and MEC of transport and public works, Daylin Mitchell, attended the launch.

Mbombo thanked all involved for the partnership and said everyone needed to work together.

“We can ensure that we don’t experience a severe fourth wave but we need to take our vaccines. To everyone here today in the transport sector, we know that you are exposed as you work with many people every day. Thank you for taking your vaccines,” he said.

During the third Covid-19 wave, people aged 50 and older made up 30% of Covid-19 cases, 60% of admissions, and 83% of deaths, the health department said.

During her address to the staff at Golden Arrow, Mbombo urged workers within the 50+ age group to get vaccinated before December.

“While we start to vaccinate our children, we still need to vaccinate many elderly residents. There are many people who are 50 years and older who still need to get vaccinated. I urge you and all residents in this age band to visit their nearest vaccination site to get their jabs” she said.

The department of health, transport and Golden Arrow partnered with the department of health and transport to launch a pop-up vaccination site at its Arrowgate Depot in Montana. 

Golden Arrow staff heeded the call and queued to get their vaccinations.

Claudine Hull, 50, a light vehicle driver, is a Covid-19 survivor. She stood in line for her vaccination because she fears becoming seriously ill again.

“I am getting my vaccination because I had Covid-19 the first time around and it scared me completely. I am getting my vaccination to protect myself because of the type of work that I do.

“I work with the public and work on the road. I am exposed to other people every day. I know if I get my vaccination, it decreases my chances of becoming seriously ill again or dying due to Covid-19,” she said.

Driver, Siyabonga Rasneni, 36, said: “I got the vaccine because I want to feel safe. It’s because of our job as well. We work with money and many passengers. I thought It would be good for me to get vaccinated to keep safe and to keep my family safe as well.” he said.

Claudine Hull, a Covid-19 survivor, was happy to finally receive her vaccination at the pop-up site. Picture: WCG

Mitchell said they were working hard to bring the vaccines closer to communities in order to save lives and jobs.

“It is very important that we target public transport operators as they work around the clock taking commuters to economic opportunities as we are rebuilding our economy.

“Public transport operators are working in areas of high transit as they transport people to and from different destinations and their staff often find it difficult to visit vaccine sites to get jabbed,” he said.

Mitchell said the government would continue to monitor the stringent health and safety procedure, including the cleaning and sanitising of public transport vehicles, the availability of hand sanitiser for passengers and the driver, and as the wearing of masks by all on board.

Golden Arrow’s chief executive, Francois Meyer, said at least 75% of its staff was already vaccinated but it was the company’s aim to have every employee vaccinated.

“This pop-up clinic will allow us to make it easier for bus drivers who work shifts, which often makes it difficult for them to visit facilities to access vaccinations as they come in from their morning shift or before they begin their afternoon shifts.

“We are very grateful to the department of transport and public works and the department of health for the level of support we have received throughout the vaccination process,” he said.