Government urged to devise quick plan to decentralise COVID-19 vaccine delivery

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The South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) has called on the government to come up with a quick plan to decentralise the delivery of batches of coronavirus vaccines in the country.

Government has been widely criticised for being inefficient as well as lacking transparency and accountability in its vaccine roll-out programme.

SAHPRA board chairperson, Professor Helen Rees, says government should explore many options to accelerate the vaccine rollout programme.

“What we start to roll out we are going to be looking at clinics we going to be looking at possibly non-health facility that got a lot of space. People have talked about sports stadium for example. We have to think now about how do we move from centralised delivery into these more decentralised so that we can really up the numbers and rapidly scaled up the numbers of people who are immunised,” says Dr Rees.

Dr Rees elaborates on her views in the video below:

So far, 288 406 healthcare workers have been vaccinated in the country under the first phase of the vaccination programme.

The second phase is expected to begin in mid-May. The country has secured 51 million doses of vaccines from various drug companies and the government aims to vaccinate at least 42 million people.

Decline in positivity rate 

CSIR senior researcher Dr Ridhwaan Sulima says there has been a further decline in the average number of daily deaths from COVID-19. This comes amid continued concern about a possible third wave of the coronavirus as the country enters the cold months.

Dr Suliman says they are concerned about the test positivity rate in the Northern Cape, Mpumalanga and the Free State. He hopes the test positivity rate nationwide will continue to decline.

“The hospitalisation has just been under 1 500 new admissions across the country in the past week and that is down by 12% a week ago. The number of deaths for the 7-day average ends at 43 new deaths per day across the country. It shows a slide decline of 2% compared to a week ago. But overall the decline and levelling of this are in line with the trend that we saw here and confirmed cases at test positivity rates.”

SA’s COVID-19 statistics with Dr Ridhwaan Suliman: