Athlone Stadium to become jab drive-through

The Athlone Stadium on Klipfontein Road will be turned into a drive-through and walk-in Covid-19 vaccination site.

The Athlone Stadium will be used as a drive-through and walk-in vaccination centre from August.

The City has leased the stadium free of charge to the provincial government, which has the responsibility for administering Covid-19 vaccines.

The plan is to have the walk-in facility ready in early August and the drive-through two weeks later.

Mayor Dan Plato said a traffic plan to prevent long queues was part of the preparations.

“The drive-through offers an alternative vaccination option to residents. Benefits include aspects such as allowing parents to keep their young children in the car, while they are vaccinated, and will hopefully encourage those that are vaccine hesitant to consider this safe and easy alternative,” said Mr Plato.

The drive-through will follow the same steps as a walk-through facility with cars stopping at four stations for occupants to be screened, registered and vaccinated. The aim is to have five lanes at the drive-through, while the walk-through facility will have 40 stations for those who are eligible to be vaccinated.

The City is finalising plans at the stadium for, among others, connectivity, vaccine storage, health technology, physical distancing, furniture acquisition, disinfecting, waste management, fire and evacuation, and security. The site will then be handed over to the provincial government.

Western Cape Premier Alan Winde said everyone should have access to life-saving vaccines, the best tool to beat Covid-19.

“I am therefore extremely excited that we will be opening a mass vaccination site in Athlone, bringing vaccines close to residents across the metro,” he said.

Athlone ward councillor Rashid Adams said the new vaccination site would make getting vaccinated a lot easier for residents.

“The vaccination process has been going slow because of various factors. Some people don’t have transport, it is also rainy, wet weather, and people don’t want to get out in the cold. Parents can’t leave their children at home so hopefully this will help those parents,” he said.

Athlone resident Steven Adriaanse said: “The stadium is just standing there like a white elephant. People need to get vaccinated as soon as possible so that things can go back to normal and the economy can stabilise again. It is really not easy out there, people are losing their jobs.”