Marizka Coetzer
Journalist
2 minute read
12 Nov 2021
5:15 am

Good Samaritan helps elderly people get vaccinated

Marizka Coetzer

In June, Erna Browne started assisting the elders in her community to get vaccinated after she realised there was a need.

Erna Browne at the Midrand firestation vaccination center, 11 November 2021. Picture: Neil McCartney

When a Kyalami good Samaritan lost her job in the school uniform industry due to the pandemic, she did not throw in the towel.

Instead, she rolled up her sleeves and helped the elderly and less fortunate in her community get vaccinated.

In June, Erna Browne started assisting the elders in her community to get vaccinated after she realised there was a need.

“With the opening of the registration of the over 60-year-olds, a lot of them were not registering because they were digitally challenged,” she said.

Browne explained the initial confirmation SMS sent to some of these elders led to the weirdest places.

“So I started offering elderly people lifts to vaccination sites and ended up holding their hands while they got their vaccines. And it sort of escalated from there and it is wonderful,” she said.

ALSO READ: Vooma vaccination drive to take place next weekend as citizens urged to get second jab

In May, Browne contacted her local ward councillor, Annette Deppe, to offer help to anyone who wanted to go for their vaccines.

Deppe sent out a notice of Browne’s voluntary services and before she knew it, she had her hands full. Browne also advertised on the Kyalami Estate group and a stranger lent her a wheelchair.

“I’m so passionate to get the elderly vaccinated because they are at most risk and we all have a gogo or grandpa in our family or neighbourhood we love,” she said.

Browne was also an admin on a Facebook group called the SA Vaccination Group where they encouraged people to get vaccinated and educated those who weren’t properly informed about the vaccine.

“God has been so good because when I ran out of money, he provided. It has been miraculous,” Browne said.

ALSO READ: Vaccine hesitancy plaguing SA prison officials and inmates

Recently, after trips to the vaccine sites dried up, Browne started volunteering at the Bryanston Islamic centre.

“A lot more people have been vaccinated by now because there are far more vaccination sites available now,” she said.

Browne said this experience showed her the neglect of the elderly in her community.

“When I fetched some of them, they had no help. The one old lady was living with her son 300 metres from a vaccination site and her son could not be bothered to take her, and yet me, a stranger, took her,” Browne said.

The security guard at the complex had more compassion for the woman than her son did.

“I cried for days after experiencing that,” she said.

marizkac@citizen.co.za