Groote Schuur doctor 'disappointed' by planned anti-vax protest outside hospital
- Dr Marc Mendelson says he's extremely disappointed by the anti-vaccine march set to take place outside Groote Schuur Hospital over the weekend
- The infectious diseases specialist has urged everyone over the age of 18 to get vaccinated against Covid-19
- Anti-vaxxers are protesting against "mandatory vaccination" even though it has not been enforced in South Africa
Groote Schuur Hospital's Head of Infectious Diseases Dr. Marc Mendelson has pleaded with people to get vaccinated against Covid-19 after the government expanded vaccine eligibility to include people aged between 18 and 34.
From Friday 20 August, anyone over the age of 18 can get their jab in the country.
Dr. Mendelson has also spoken out against an anti-vaccination protest expected to take place outside Groote Schuur Hospital on Saturday.
He says protesting outside the hospital, where healthcare workers are fighting to save lives, is "extremely disappointing and highly disrespectful".
The anti-vaxxers have indicated that they are protesting against "mandatory vaccination" even though it has not been enforced in South Africa.
Covid-19 vaccination remains voluntary.
Dr. Mendelson has stressed that vaccines help prevent severe Covid-19 complications, hospitalisation, and death.
He says Groote Schuur is dealing with a "dedicated and largely traumatised workforce" as staffers have to make difficult decisions about which Covid-19 patients get admitted to high care wards.
According to the doctor, the majority of people who have Covid-19 pneumonia in high care or ICU are people who have not been vaccinated yet.
Vaccination can prevent severe disease, hospitalisation, and death. That's why we're so passionate as a workforce and as a group in saying: Please go and get vaccinated to protect yourself.Dr Marc Mendelson, Head of the Division of Infectious Diseases & HIV Medicine - Groote Schuur Hospital
Covid-19 vaccination is currently not mandatory. Even if it was, to protest outside this hospital.. where we're trying our very best to save people's lives and to help and care for people... is extremely disappointing and highly disrespectful.Dr Marc Mendelson, Head of the Division of Infectious Diseases & HIV Medicine - Groote Schuur Hospital
The vast, vast majority of people [in hospital] have not been vaccinated. Some of them would have chosen not to be vaccinated, that's a personal choice. Some of them would have not been able to be vaccinated [until today] yet because they were very young.Dr Marc Mendelson, Head of the Division of Infectious Diseases & HIV Medicine - Groote Schuur Hospital
The one thing we're delighted about today is that people over the age of 18 will be able to get vaccinated and I hope that everybody in that age group will take up the opportunity to protect themselves and show everybody else what can be done by the young.Dr Marc Mendelson, Head of the Division of Infectious Diseases & HIV Medicine - Groote Schuur Hospital
We have a full set of Covid-19 wards... Our ICUs are full... It's causing a lot of distress for everybody, the patients and the staff... We are seeing a lot of people dying...Dr Marc Mendelson, Head of the Division of Infectious Diseases & HIV Medicine - Groote Schuur Hospital