Health workers not given clarity on administering COVID-19 vaccine jab: Denosa

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The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (Denosa) says it is concerned about government’s plans to roll out the coronavirus vaccine since healthcare workers have not been given clarity on how to administer the vaccine jabs to the public.

South Africa recently received its first batch of 1 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine from the Serum Institute in India.

Denosa’s KZN Secretary Mandla Shabangu says healthcare workers require guidelines and some form of training on the capacity of those expected to vaccinate people, as well as those expected to assist in testing for COVID-19.

Shabangu says, “When you are talking about vaccinating the community, do we have enough human resources to roll out the plan? We understand Phase 1 with vaccinating the healthcare workers, but the main problem we are facing is that when you go out to the public, do we have enough capacity in dealing with it?”

“Remember, while we are vaccinating people, we are not out of the woods yet when it comes to COVID-19 testing and positive people. It means that when you are rolling out the plans to vaccinate the community, you need to have the plan…” added Shabangu.

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The South African Medical Association (SAMA) says the health sector is in the process of training doctors and nurses – as they prepare to administer coronavirus vaccines to patients.

SAMA’s Chairperson Dr Angelique Coetzee says, “There are training sites currently taking place. There is a training programme even for doctors. It is online, which you can apply for and do the course. Hopefully, there is training in the public sector on nurses, but I am not sure if they have employed nurses to be trained for this – because I know there is a financial problem to employ these people. Also remember, there must be transport arranged. It’s going to be quite tricky.”

Meanwhile, KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala announced that healthcare workers in the province will start getting COVID-19 vaccinations in two weeks’ time.

He says the national government is expected to send the province’s share of the AstraZeneca vaccine on February 14, with doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers set to get the first dose of the vaccine.

Over 160 000 healthcare workers, both in the public and private sector and traditional healers, are eligible to be vaccinated in the first phase.

Zikalala says the provincial government has set up a vaccine coordinating committee that will oversee the implementation of the vaccination plan.

“As KZN, we have developed our own vaccination plan based on guidelines set by the World Health Organisation and the national Department of Health. The province has established a vaccine coordination committee which includes private sector hospitals, traditional leaders, health systems trust, organised labour, NGOs, the academic sector, the National Laboratory Health Services, civil society and the South African Military Services among others. All our districts have finalised vaccination distribution plans.”

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