a clinic on rails to vaccinate against covid-19

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In South Africa, all means are good for bringing vaccines to the population, from the railways. A train from the public company Transnet, “Transvaco”, has been converted into a vaccination center to be able to reach the more remote areas of the country.

With our Special Correspondent in Springs, Claire Bargelès

One hour from Johannesburg, when you enter the disused Springs station, you expect to find nothing but dilapidated old train sets. Still, this is where Transvaco and its renovated compartments are parked.

Paballo Mokwana is the head of this clinic on rails. “Here’s one of the cars,” she guides. It is equipped with our refrigerators and freezers for storing vaccines. And here is an area that is intended for emergencies. A little further on, there are six departments for our employees to administer the vaccine to patients. ”

On the platform, a handful of people are waiting their turn. Among them Sandile, 39 years old. “I shopped right next door and heard that it was quite efficient and fast, so it is very convenient for me. It must be done. Life has changed, and you have to get used to it now “, he explains.

Two other trains This train is modeled on two other medical trains, which have crossed the country for almost 30 years and provided care in remote areas. A perfect system for vaccination, according to Paballo Mokwana: “This allows us to take the vaccine directly to communities. And for the most part, where there is a train station, there is also a shared taxi or bus station, so patients have easy access to the train. “

With about a hundred vaccinations a day, the pace is quite slow here, but the railway doctors hope to attract more people to the Eastern Cape region, which they will travel through until December by changing stations every two weeks.

Slightly less than 10% of South Africans have so far been completely immunized, while the country no longer experiences a lack of doses and all adults can come to the centers.

Read also: Covid-19 in South Africa: vaccination open to all adults

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