Gauteng aims to vaccinate up to 10.5 millions residents

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Gauteng health officials aim to vaccinate up to 10.5 million residents in the coming months. As announced by the COVID-19 Advisory Committee, the first phase of the vaccine rollout will target health-care workers.

On Monday, about 1.5 million doses of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine have arrived at the OR Tambo International Airport from the Serum Institute in India.

President Cyril Ramaphosa and Deputy President David Mabuza have received the first batch of AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccines at the OR Tambo International Airport.

‘Densely populated’ 

With Gauteng accounting for the most infections and it being the country’s most densely populated province, health officials have set themselves a target of vaccinating up to 10.5 million people in the coming months.

Gauteng Health Department Acting HOD, Lesiba Malotana, says they’ve secured a number of sites that will be used to administer the vaccinations.

“In terms of identifying the sites, we have over 700 that are registered with the national department as vaccination sites for phase one. For phase two and three, we have over 2000 sites. Phase one will be frontline workers across all levels. Once that is covered, phase two will be the biggest exercise, essential workers and the phase will be these rest of the population.”

It will take at least 10 days before the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine begins. The second batch of 500 000 jabs is scheduled to arrive later this month.

However, there are mixed feelings amongst health-care workers.

South Africa has been the worst hit on the African continent and has reported the most COVID-19 cases. The country experienced a surge in infections recently driven by a new, more contagious variant of the virus. It’s resulted in more debate about vaccines and unfortunately an increase in fake news about it.

Research Centre Manager at the CSIR, Doctor Jabu Mtshweni explains, “The problem that we have right now is fake news. And Twitter is the main driver of this followed by WhatsApp. Too many people create fake news more especially during the coronavirus pandemic which is very dangerous.”

Health care workers will be first in line for the vaccine followed by other emergency workers and people with comorbidities.