KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala says the meeting with the Consul General of India Anish Rajan today has revived a long-standing relationship between the two economies after the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The meeting, held in Durban, comes as the province prepares itself to rollout the COVID-19 vaccine.

Zikala says his engagement with Rajan was also in a bid to grow trade relations focusing especially on the pharmaceutical industry.

“We thanked India for its contribution and also making it easy for us to receive and get the vaccine. As you know, KwaZulu-Natal is ready to roll the vaccine and ensure that it is implemented. We have plans that will take this to districts and to vaccinating sites. We believe that it is one of the major contributions that India is doing, not only to South Africa but to the world.”

Rajan says whilst the world is fighting the pandemic, people’s livelihoods should not be neglected.

“Today we discussed the importance of fighting the virus and fighting economic, social and other challenging problems we face. We have to combat the virus and we also have to focus on livelihoods. We cannot wait for this challenge to be dealt with before going into the next challenges.”

KZN vaccine rollout

On Tuesday, Zikalala said healthcare workers in KZN will start getting COVID-19 vaccinations in two weeks’ time. The national government is expected to send the province’s share of the AstraZeneca vaccine on 14 February.

KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala gives details on province’s vaccine roll-out plan:

Zikalala said 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.”

According to MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu, the KZN Health Department has trained 2 000 additional nurses to compliment the nurses who normally administer vaccinations in hospitals and clinics.