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The Durban University of Technology (DUT), in partnership with the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health officially launched its own COVID-19 Vaccination Centre at the DUT Hotel School, Ritson Campus in Durban on Wednesday, 08 September 2021.

The DUT COVID-19 Response Task Team has set up the temporary vaccination centre for one week, from 8 to 15 September 2021 on weekdays, from 08h00 to 15h30. All students and staff aged 18 years and older who would like to be vaccinated are invited to visit the vaccination centre at the DUT Hotel School, no appointment or entry permit is necessary. To get vaccinated, all that is needed from students and staff is a valid ID document and a student or staff card.

Members of the DUT Student Representative Council (SRC) led the way by being among the first group to vaccinate on day one.

DUT SRC General Secretary, Njabulo Ntshaba said they are proud of DUT for launching the vaccination centre. He said it also gives them courage as students to vaccinate because they know it is their campaign and they trust DUT more than outsiders.

“Having a vaccination site at DUT is a great initiative, of which we applaud. We congratulate the DUT COVD-19 Response Task Team for being able to pull this through and managing to get the vaccination site at DUT. We encourage students to come out in numbers to vaccinate in order for us to get back into our normal lives and continue with the programmes we normally do. It will also assist us to do away with online learning which is a challenge to most students. We will go back to our normal education, in a classroom set-up which treats every student equally,” said Ntshaba.

Regarding vaccination hesitancy and conspiracy theories, Ntshaba said the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology, Dr Blade Nzimande assured students that the department working together with scientists will make sure that the COVID-19 vaccines do not harm students. He called upon students to make use of this opportunity provided by DUT of bringing the vaccination closer to them, saying at no stage will DUT compromise the lives of students and staff. Ntshaba said the students should look at the bigger picture which is going back to living their normal lives.

The Chairperson of the DUT COVID-19 Response Task Team, Professor Champaklal Jinabhai said the Task Team is excited to announce that a fully-fledged Vaccination Centre, established at the DUT Hotel School started operations yesterday, (Wednesday).

“It’s a historic moment as the Task Team urges all 30,000 Students and Staff to come to this dedicated COVID-19 Vaccination Centre with their ID cards. Registration occurs at the Centre. We express our sincere thanks to the KZN Department of Health for the partnership with DUT. Vaccinations will continue until next week. We also thank the SRC Leadership in supporting the Task Team,” said Prof Jinabhai.

Expressing his message of support, the newly appointed DUT Registrar, Dr Maditsane Nkonoane said: “This is just not another day in the life of this great university as we launch the vaccination site. This is an epoch defining moment that resonates with Focus Area 1 of Siyaphumelela 2.0 under the stewardship of our Deputy Vice-Chancellor Teaching and Learning and curatorship of Student Services. What a better way to demonstrate to our students that Sikusekele…We Got You. The tireless work of our COVID-19 Task Team is worthy of commendation and possibly emulation by our peers in the Higher Education sector.”

The Director: Department of Student Counselling and Health at DUT, Dr Naseem Haniff urged all students who can be vaccinated to vaccinate.
“Students generally are a highly mobile group, with our classrooms and student residences being high population density environments. These are all unique challenges to young students which makes the need for them to vaccinate all the more urgent. Here in KZN we are still in the 3rd wave but the 4th wave is expected to impact us from as soon as November to December this year, making initiatives such as this all the more important and urgent. We appeal to students to please take up this offer to vaccinate. The service is being delivered at a site most convenient to you,” reiterated Dr Haniff.

Representing the KZN Department of Health, Mrs Cabangile Gumede, the District Clinical Specialist and District Vaccinator urged students to make use of this opportunity. She also shared her story as the survivor of COVID-19.

“In December 2020, I was admitted for 12 days, 3 days on oxygen. It was not a nice experience. I don’t wish anyone of you to experience what I went through. When the vaccine was coming out, I was the first one to jump for the vaccine because I had felt the pain. Being in hospital for 12 days without any visitors was so painful. Being in hospital treated by nurses and doctors that you can’t identify even if you meet them in passages because of the PPE, it is not a nice experience. Vaccine protects you against coronavirus so when administering vaccine, it will assist you in developing the immune system against the COVID-19,” said Gumede.

Once vaccinated, she said one might encounter a little fever, mild headache and pain but that goes off within three days. She urged the students to not listen to social media as it will create confusion. Furthermore, she thanked the DUT management for this initiative so that students and staff will not stand in queues at their local vaccination sites.

“Please make a good choice. We are worried about the herd immunity because if more people are vaccinated, as a district or country we will herd immunity. This means there will be no place for the virus because everybody is vaccinated. If less people are vaccinated, then outbreaks are still going to continue. Please forget about the myths going around, some people believe if you take a vaccine you will have poor erection, that is not true. Men’s Clinics were here long time ago because erection was a problem long time ago. The issue of infertility, there is no such. Remember the researchers are still researching as COVID-19 is still new. When we started vaccination it was said pregnant women cannot vaccinate but it has now been proven that it is safe for them to vaccinate,” Gumede said.

Pictured: Members of the DUT SRC, Njabulo Ntshaba, Musawenkosi Mbambo, Awonke Kufa, Lindokuhle Sibisi and Silindokuhle Ndzalele after being vaccinated.

Pictured: DUT SRC General Secretary, Njabulo Ntshaba being vaccination at the DUT Vaccination Centre. Pictures taken by Nkululeko Mbatha.

Simangele Zuma

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