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Nursing students join the COVID-19 fight

Written by More Matshediso

Final-year nursing students have been trained to vaccinate the public against COVID-19.

The Western Cape Provincial Government has increased its efforts to roll-out the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) vaccination programme by training final-year nursing students as vaccinators.

A partnership between the provincial government and the University of the Western Cape has already resulted in 267 final-year nursing students receiving the necessary training.

According to Western Cape Premier Alan Winde, the students will assist with the vaccination programme during their mid-year break, when they undertake their clinical placement.

“They are set to play a major role in our vaccination campaign,” he adds.

The students, who were trained by the Western Cape Department of Health, will take up positions on the frontline.

“This will provide a welcome boost to our [vaccination] programme as we scale up in the weeks ahead. As more vaccines arrive, more vaccination sites will open and more support will be needed,” says Premier Winde.

The students were split into two groups. The first cohort of 134 vaccinators took up their positions on 17 June, while the rest will start on 19 July.

Online and practical training

The students completed vaccination competency training in their third year and are therefore well prepared to support the Department of Health in its vaccination programme, says the Premier.

The students’ training for the vaccination programme took place online, via the university’s zero-rated IKamva learning site.

The content was developed by the Western Cape Department of Health’s People Development Centre and is aligned with the National Department of Health’s vaccine training. It included:

  • A basic overview of COVID-19.
  • An outline of the various available vaccines.
  • Training on monitoring patients for adverse side effects.

One of the trainees, Donovan Du Plooy, says it is a privilege to be part of the group.

“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, which is important to acquire herd immunity,” he says.

They have eight 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, including Stellenbosch, Paarl and Wellington. They will also be placed in Khayelitsha East and Northern Tygerberg in the Cape Metro,” says Premier Winde.