North West to increase COVID-19 vaccine sites

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The Department of Health in the North West says it will increase the number of vaccine sites by 34 across the province. This follows an increase in the number of infections and a surge in COVID-19 admissions at some hospitals in the province.

Visitations have also been halted at Joe Morolong Memorial Hospital at Vryburg, in the light of increasing COVID-19 admissions.

In the last 24 hours, the North West recorded 515 new COVID-19 cases.

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Currently, the Naledi local municipality in Vryburg has 381 active cases. Following a surge in COVID-19 admissions at Joe Morolong Memorial Hospital, the facility has also halted public visits. Only those in need of medical attention will be allowed entry into the hospital. In the wake of rapid increases in infections, provincial health authorities have decided to increase vaccination sites.

Spokesperson Tebogo Lekgethwane says, “We started with fewer vaccination sites, now we have moved to increase the vaccination sites to 10 in the second week of vaccination program for phase two. We are now saying 34 more vaccination sites are going to be included to make sure that we cover as many areas as possible.”

Although the nursing union DENOSA in the North West supports the move, it is also demanding that the sites be fully resourced. Acting secretary for DENOSA in the province Kedibone Mdolo says, “If the department could increase vaccination site not only vaccination sites but have to be functional vaccination sites. Those sites must be actively implemented, human resources must be there, resources which are needed for vaccination to happen.”

Despite an increase in coronavirus infections, some residents still do not comply with COVID-19 safety protocols, such as wearing masks. However, others are calling for stricter measures, to curb the spread of infections.

One of the Vryburg residents says, “I think the government should re-implement level three lockdown regulations because after implementing them, we saw a number of cases slightly decreased.”

Another resident says, “I do think the visibility of police can help, during level five there was too much police visibility and they were reinforcing people to adhere.”

Provincial health authorities say if the increase continues, the banning of visits to health facilities will continue until the infection rate decreases.