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100k COVID-19 vaccinations administered to vulnerable communities

100k COVID-19 vaccinations administered to vulnerable communities

The Aurum Institute has administered over 100,000 COVID-19 vaccinations at conveniently located sites across seven provinces in South Africa.

 “This milestone is a credit to the incredible effort from The Aurum Institute and its group of affiliates and it reminds us of the continued importance of vaccinations. COVID-19 vaccines are a vital part of our response to the pandemic,” said Prof Vinodh Edward, Chief Executive Officer of Aurum South Africa.

Vaccine access

This is a significant contribution to the National Vaccination Programme, said Dr Waarisa Fareed- Brey, Outreach Site Programme Lead at the Douglas Murray Trust (DGMT). She provides technical assistance to the National Department of Health (DoH) on the outreach programme which includes the Solidarity Fund vaccination outreach project.  

“Aurum has played an integral role in addressing vaccine access and equity nationally, in particular in underserved and within the most vulnerable communities,” she added.

Convenience 

The Aurum Group has deployed 33 teams in seven provinces to take vaccines to where people are and at places of convenience including retail sites, taxi ranks and grant payment points. The project is implemented by The Aurum Institute and affiliates Aurum Innova, the Centre for HIV-AIDS Prevention Studies (CHAPS), and Youth Health Africa (YHA) with funding from the Solidary Fund.

“Aurum is one of the highest performing clinical operators supporting the Solidarity Fund’s scale up of vaccinations,” said Jacqueline Pienaar, Aurum Group Global Health Technical Specialist, and project lead. Since the project started in August, the Aurum Group’s fixed and roving sites including drive-throughs, have consistently achieved within the top weekly average number of vaccinations across SA. Pienaar attributed this success to good collaborative relationships with provincial and district Departments of Health. There are 183 outreach sites nationally, complementing the DoH vaccination facilities. According to Waarisa Fareed-Brey, a total 400 000 vaccinations have been administered by all the clinical operators under the Solidarity Fund project. Aurum alone, has contributed just over 110 000 vaccinations.

 “Achieving this milestone demonstrates Aurum’s ability to nimbly engage and deliver high quality and high impact public health interventions within short periods of time. It is part of our efforts to employ, execute and ensure the impact of our work towards national and international public health priorities and is testament to our commitment and fervent service to promote quality public health for all,” said Pienaar.

Positive

While the reception of these vaccination sites has generally been positive, low demand remains a challenge in some areas. The Aurum teams have been innovative by changing the times of vaccinations to accommodate people coming back from work, having weekend vaccination campaigns and designated demand creation before our roving teams go to specific areas.

Jane Simmonds, Research Manager at the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) is assisting the Solidarity Fund on this project, particularly at retail stores. “Access to vaccines plays an important role in people getting vaccinated. The role played by Aurum as a clinical operator in taking vaccines to retail stores nationally, to people who would not normally be able to get to a vaccine site due to time, costs or transport, has contributed to the success of this vaccine outreach programme. The South African Medical Research Council would like to thank and congratulate Aurum on administering 100 000 vaccinations,” said Simmonds.

 Opportunity

Bandile Mathandela, Aurum Innova CEO, called on more people to come forward to get vaccinated.

“We have lost too many people to COVID. Each of us has an opportunity to do something, to give ourselves a fighting chance.”