Church drive-through gets Soweto Covid-19 jab rollout into high gear

Site co-ordinator Sister Thandeka Lebotse administers a vaccine drive-through style at the Grace Bible Church in Soweto.
Site co-ordinator Sister Thandeka Lebotse administers a vaccine drive-through style at the Grace Bible Church in Soweto.
Image: Alaister Russell/The Sunday Times

It took Bethuel Makwe just 10 minutes to get to Grace Bible church in Soweto and get his Covid-19 jab at a drive-though.

“I came here because a drive-through vaccination is safe and quick. I also do not live far from the church,” Makwe said as he waited to get his jab.

He was one of about 20 drivers waiting in their cars to be vaccinated.

“The idea of having a drive-through vaccination site was good because there are no queues, unlike at big hospitals where a lot of people go,” Makwe said.

He said he had heard from a church member that the site had been set up.

After being vaccinated he was told of potential side-effects and that he would have to wait near the exit for 10 minutes to be observed by another nurse after the jab.

Jemina Levi, from Naturena, got her jab within five minutes of her arrival.

“I got here five minutes ago. The drive-through is nice because you don’t spend a lot of time here. It’s in and out. It’s a brilliant idea because people do not want to wait,” she said.

Sister Thandeka Lebotse said the site was opened last month. It had initially been designated for teachers and police.

“Everyone who is eligible to get the vaccine can come. We allow people who are registered and those who are not.

“We also offer free Covid-19 tests if someone feels sick or think they might have contracted the virus,” she said.

They get about 300 people a day. Mornings are the busiest.

“We would like to see more people coming. We encourage people to come because there are no lines here. You are in your safe space, in your car.”

There are four nurses at the site taking turns to vaccinate people.

Lebotse said they have had older people who walked to the site to get vaccinated. “We don’t turn them away. We ask the drivers to give them a lift so we can vaccinate them from the cars.”

Once they are vaccinated, motorists are asked to park their cars and wait for 15 minutes before they are allowed to go home.

Lebotse said people get given a choice of taking either the Pfizer or the J&J vaccine.

“A lot of people who come here prefer the J&J vaccine because it’s a single dose.”

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