The Department of Health says it is pleased that more than 100 000 healthcare workers have been vaccinated in just over two weeks with the early access Johnson and Johnson vaccine. South Africa yesterday marked one year since the first COVID-19 case was recorded in the country.

Officials say as demand for the vaccine continues to increase, government is rapidly and successfully rolling out the delivery of the vaccine to healthcare workers through a partnership with the Sisonke Study.

The department says the government is working on ensuring that all healthcare workers are vaccinated in a timeous and fair way.

Department of Health officials presents the vaccination roll-out plan to Members of Parliament: 

The Department of Health has thanked all the healthcare workers who took their vaccinations, saying this act demonstrates their trust in medical science and confidence in the system.

The Sisonke Study says it has set up 42 vaccination sites and has outperformed its original targets for the number of vaccines delivered in its first week. It says it will continue this momentum in its third week, as more sites come online.

The department says while there is progress in the vaccination rollout, the fight against the coronavirus continues and urges citizens to remain vigilant, wear their masks, wash hands regularly and practice social distancing.

Traditional healers to be vaccinated

North West Health MEC Madoda Sambatha says traditional healers in the province will soon be inoculated with the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

Last month, a group representing traditional healers called for their members to be considered to receive the coronavirus vaccine alongside other healthcare workers, doctors and nurses.

Sambatha says traditional healers are regarded as frontline staffers because people consult with them.

He says, “They are included on the basis that they do have a sizable number of people who consult them. And if they were not protected it might be easier for them to transmit to the people that consult them.”

Uneasiness

Last month, traditional healers in Kimberley welcomed with uneasiness the announcement that they will receive the COVID-19 vaccine as part of the cohort of frontline workers.

The healers say although they welcome the vaccine, they have some issues with government and the Department of Health that need to be ironed out before they can take the vaccine.

They accuse the government of side-lining them when the virus hit South African shores and further maligning them when solutions were sought on how to treat symptoms of the virus. Now they are seeking answers.