The Eastern Cape Health Department says it is ready for phase two of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout plan.
All those over the age of 60 and people with underlying medical conditions will be vaccinated from Monday.
A total of 150 000 elderly citizens have already registered for the vaccine and the numbers are expected to grow over the next couple of weeks. Those who are not able to register online, will be able to do so at several clinics and mobile units in various parts of the Eastern Cape.
Mazweni Santi is not tech-savvy and opted to make use of the mobile units, dispatched by the government in his area. For the 65-year-old, getting the vaccine is a lifeline and a chance to possibly miss the third wave. Santi says he does not want to get infected.
“I came to register today because I think it’s the best thing to do for myself. I have heard that the third wave is coming and I don’t want to get infected, so to prevent that, the best thing to do is to vaccinate,” says Santi.
Eastern Cape Health Department says it is ready for the COVID-19 vaccine rollout:
Need for accessible vaccination sites
The provincial Department of Health says it has ensured that all districts in the province have venues that can be used as vaccination sites. Those in old ages homes will be vaccinated at their facilities by healthcare workers. Those in far lying rural areas will be able to use community halls, schools and clinics within a 5km radius to their homes to get vaccinated.
According to the acting Head of the department, Dr Sibongile Zungu, the greatest challenge for the Eastern Cape will be to have sufficient vaccine doses available for the large population.
“The number of people that we have and the pipeline of vaccines that we have in the country, we are hopeful that we are going to be able to have sufficient coverage. The challenge will be the pace at which we do the vaccination because at this point we have a guaranteed amount of Pfizer vaccines that we will receive in the province by the time we get to the end of the week we should have received 43 000 doses of the vaccine and we still have doses that are being utilised with the health care workers that are from the Sisonke,” says Zungu.
The department is however concerned about the increase in COVID-19 infections, particularly in Nelson Mandela Bay and the Buffalo City Municipality. The province has also been criticised for the slow pace of vaccination of health workers and there are fears it may be worse with senior citizens.
Provincial Premier, Oscar Mabuyane, says they are better prepared this time around.
“Our strategy to manage resurgence is three-fold. Firstly, we are heightening the promotion of non- pharmaceuticals protocols as the proven measure to curb the spread of the virus. Secondly, we are focusing on tracking, testing and isolation of new cases to avoid outbreaks. Thirdly, we are registering people for vaccination and we are targeting to give 770 000 elderly people their first dose before July. We also aim to give people with comorbidities one dose before the winter season and cover all essential workers by November under phase two. Our country has been assured of 51 million vaccine supplies and they will be rollout to the populace to save the lives of our people,” says Mabuyane.
The Department of Health has also employed additional staff to assist with the rollout.
The second phase comes amid claims of some South Africans having jumped queues to get the COVID-19 vaccine, during the vaccination of healthcare workers that was under the Sisonke study.
Details on those allegations in the video below: