A young doctor on the frontlines of the Covid-19 pandemic is urging the public to get vaccinated. “The virus is vicious,” says Cape Town’s Dr Davianne de Bruin, “and there is no telling how it could affect you.”
After a nine-hour shift, Dr Davianne de Bruin says she is more than relieved to return home to rest. For most of the pandemic the young doctor has worked at the Brackengate Hospital of Hope on the frontlines of the fight.
The third wave of infections has been much longer than the second wave and its peak has exceeded that of the second.
Her only hope for each day is to save lives as she cares for Covid-19 patients.
“My hardest moment at work is when I hope a patient will make it and then watch them not making it. It’s not easy. But what brings me joy is watching people, our residents, recover and then getting to tell them that they’re going home to their loved ones.”
Support is crucial
With fears of a possible fourth wave looming, de Bruin says the public’s support remains critical.
The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) reported 12,771 new Covid-19 cases on Thursday [26 August].
The majority of case were from KwaZulu-Natal (28%), followed by the Western Cape (24%).
“We need people to support us by getting vaccinated”, says de Bruin. “The virus is vicious and we can’t predict how it will affect you.”
“Vaccination is your best weapon to fight it. We must also continue to practice safe behaviour. Stick to the basics by wearing your mask, social distancing, sanitising your hands and avoiding crowds. We need you to support us as healthcare workers and our healthcare system.
“Our residents end up in hospital due to the virus every day and we need everyone to work together to keep everyone safe. It’s important to see this pandemic as something not just affecting you as an individual. It’s affecting everyone. By practicing the correct protocol, you are making a difference in not only your own life, but in everyone else’s lives.”
De Bruin has been vaccinated and shares the benefits of vaccination. “Vaccinations don’t guarantee that we won’t get Covid-19 but it can prevent severe disease and in turn hospitalisation and death. So, in the greater scheme of things, vaccines help to limit the burden of disease, not only on people in the public, but also on our health system and healthcare workers.”
Healthcare workers and burnout
Without the public’s support, overcoming the Covid-19 pandemic won’t be easy, especially as many healthcare workers are experiencing fatigue, she warns.
“At work, you see a lot of burnout and exhaustion. It’s quite difficult hearing stories from colleagues, admin teams, doctors and nurses at different healthcare facilities in the province and hearing that they’re not coping at times. The burnout is real and obvious among colleagues.”
De Bruin appeals to the public to help healthcare workers fight the virus by remaining vigilant and getting their Covid-19 vaccinations.
According to the Western Cape department of health, healthcare workers at the Brackengate Hospital of Hope had cared for 909 Covid-19 patients between 1 and 22 August this year.
By 23 August, it reported that the facility was at 80% capacity with 269 patients.
“While we continue efforts to fight the virus, we call on all residents to remain vigilant by practicing safe behaviour and to register for vaccination. If you have not registered yet and need assistance, please visit your nearest vaccination site if you are 18 years and older,” the department said in a statement.
You can also register for vaccination by:
- visiting https://vaccine.enroll.health.gov.za/#/ (the link can also be found on www.westerncape.gov.za);
- dialling *134*832# and following the prompts (free on all South African networks);
- sending the word REGISTER via WhatsApp to 0600 123456;
- calling 0860 142 142 for queries about registration.