Doctor appeals for public to support vaccines

Dr Davianne de Bruin, of the Brackengate field hospital in Brackenfell, appeals for public support amid anti-vaxxers’ questioning of vaccines.

Amid heightened Covid-19 vaccine hesitancy, a doctor at a Brackenfell field hospital has spoken out in support of vaccinations.

Dr Davianne de Bruin, who works at the Brackengate Hospital of Hope, said their hospital had saved 909 patients from Covid-19 in the past three weeks.

She was speaking after widely condemned anti-vaccine comments from heart surgeon Dr Susan Vosloo, whose remarks were followed by an anti-vaxxer protest at the Groote Schuur Hospital.

On Tuesday August 24, Northern News sent questions to the provincial Department of Health on vaccine turnout at various facilities. It did not respond to those questions but instead issued a statement with Dr De Bruin saying vaccines are saving lives.

“My hardest moment at work is when I hope a patient will make it and then watching them not making it,” she said. “It’s really 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.”

Public support for vaccines was important amid an impending fourth wave, she said.

“We need people to support us by getting vaccinated. This 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 practise 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 health-care workers and our health-care 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 really important to see this pandemic as something not just affecting you as an individual. It’s affecting everyone. By practising the correct protocol, you are making a difference in not only your own life, but in everyone else’s lives.”

Vaccines were not a guarantee against Covid-19 infection but they did prevent severe illness, hospitalisation and death.

Health-care workers were going through burnout and exhaustion, she added.

“It’s quiet difficult hearing stories from colleagues, admin teams, doctors and nurses at different health-care facilities in the province and hearing that they’re not coping at times. The burnout is real and obvious among colleagues.”

The department said Brackengate Hospital of Hope had cared for 909 Covid-19 patients from August 1 to August 22 and, as of Monday August 23, it was 80% full with 269 patients.