267 final year nursing students trained as COVID-19 vaccinators

“Western Cape Government & UWC train 267 final year nursing students as COVID-19 vaccinators”

Today, I met 267 final year nursing students who are set to play a major role in our vaccination campaign. These students will soon be taking up positions on the frontline having received the required training from the Western Cape Department of Health to become vaccinators during our mass campaign. 

This will provide a welcomed boost to our programme, as we scale up in the weeks ahead. As more vaccines arrive, more vaccination sites will open, and the more support will be needed. 

As of 2 June 2021, the Western Cape Government’s vaccinator database identified a total of 5208 vaccinators, of which 3297 are trained. Of those who have been identified as possible vaccinators: 

  • 511 are doctors;
  • 5234 are nurses;
  • 468 are pharmacists, EMS and educators; and
  • 214 are supervisors and managers.

During their formal placements at vaccine sites, these students will be split into two groups and the first cohort of 134 vaccinators are expected to be in the field from 17 June. The nursing students will be able to put their skills to practice during their mid-year break as part of their clinical placement.

The training is done online via the university’s zero-rated IKamva learning site. The content has been developed by the People Development Centre Western Cape Department of Health and is aligned with the national Department of Health’s vaccine training and includes:

  • a basic overview of COVID-19;
  • an outline of the various available vaccines; and
  • training on monitoring patients for side adverse side effects.

Speaking to the training that he received, Donovan Du Plooy said: “It is a privilege to be part of a group of final year nursing students, which will join the vaccination rollout campaign in South Africa. It is an urgent and equally important part of the country’s response to the management of the COVID-19 pandemic. This will ensure that we get our communities vaccinated and it is important to acquire herd immunity.” 

The students also completed their vaccination competency training in their third year. They have been well-prepared to support the Department of Health in vaccinations, with approximately 8 months to go before they start their placements as professional registered nurses. 

During their placements, they will work full-time at vaccination sites in the Cape Winelands which includes Stellenbosch, Paarl and Wellington. They will also be placed in Khayelitsha East and Northern Tygerberg in the Cape Metro. 

Speaking to how training would assist her going forward, Surayah Shafigah said: “The training expanded my understanding of mindfulness and gave me a great understanding of how this knowledge can be used to develop awareness/management skills with the ongoing pandemic in the world. I look forward to finding out how to become more involved in working with the public and empower people with more knowledge on how to keep safe, take precautions and stay COVID free.”

The training provided to these final year nurses will provide us with an invaluable support base. I want to recognise the efforts of the Provincial Department of Health in supporting these students and ensuring that there is sufficient capacity to ensure a successful vaccine rollout, particularly as we approach a third wave.