NEWSFLASH

Western Cape gets ready to distribute Covid-19 vaccines

By Suné Payne 4 February 2021

On 15 February, the first Covid-19 vaccine is expected to be delivered to healthcare workers in the Western Cape. (Photo: Billie Weiss / Boston Red Sox / Getty Images)

On 15 February, the first Covid-19 vaccine is expected to be delivered to healthcare workers in the Western Cape. At the same time, the province’s health officials have urged residents to maintain all Covid-19 hygiene protocols.

Western Cape health MEC Dr Nomafrench Mbombo told journalists there are 1,995 healthcare workers – including herself – who are undergoing training to administer vaccines in the province. 

Right now, the department is doing checks to make sure all systems are working in order to distribute and administer the vaccines. 

“We need to be vaccinated,” said Dr Mbombo, stressing that precautionary measures still needed to be adhered to by all. This includes mask-wearing, hand-washing and avoiding crowds. 

Mbombo was addressing the media with Western Cape health department head Dr Keith Cloete and premier Alan Winde on Thursday, to provide an update on Covid-19 in the province and plans to roll out the national government’s vaccine campaign.

Following Monday 1 February’s much publicised arrival of the first batches of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines from the Serum Institute of India, provinces are now getting ready to distribute and administer vaccines. 

Cloete said Western Cape healthcare workers would be part of the first group to receive vaccines in phase 1 of the roll-out.

A total of 35,000 workers from the Western Cape government and 58,584 from the private sector have been listed to receive the vaccine. 

Processes are still being finalised to get another allocation for community healthcare workers, City of Cape Town healthcare workers, outsourced workers, health students, undertakers and traditional healers. 

Vaccines will be distributed among 378 public health facilities and 41 private facilities.

Cloete said a poll had shown that 54% of healthcare workers were willing to take the vaccine – a further 20% would not want to take it and 26% would consider it, but needed more information. 

Materials such as videos and information sheets had been distributed to healthcare workers. When asked by Daily Maverick in what languages these were in, Dr Cloete said staff were “making sure there is a spread across all languages”. 

Asked by journalists if Winde and Dr Cloete would take the vaccines publicly, both said frontline workers needed to receive it ahead of them.

Dr Cloete also gave a brief update on the province’s health situation, including a significant decline in deaths. Between 22-29 January, there was a 31% drop in the number of deaths and a 42% drop in admissions to hospitals in the province. Dr Cloete said these figures were recorded in October, before the province headed into its second Covid-19 wave. 

In closing, Winde said “we must not become complacent” so as to prevent a possible third wave, especially on the eve of the vaccine roll-out. 

The Western Cape government has also announced that it intends  procuring its own vaccines. On Wednesday, the provincial health and treasury departments briefed the provincial legislature on these plans, saying they were “contingency” measures. Read more here: Opposition questions Western Cape plans for extra vaccine doses. DM

Information pertaining to Covid-19, vaccines, how to control the spread of the virus and potential treatments is ever-changing. Under the South African Disaster Management Act Regulation 11(5)(c) it is prohibited to publish information through any medium with the intention to deceive people on government measures to address COVID-19. We are therefore disabling the comment section on this article in order to protect both the commenting member and ourselves from potential liability. Should you have additional information that you think we should know, please email [email protected] 

 

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"Information pertaining to Covid-19, vaccines, how to control the spread of the virus and potential treatments is ever-changing. Under the South African Disaster Management Act Regulation 11(5)(c) it is prohibited to publish information through any medium with the intention to deceive people on government measures to address COVID-19. We are therefore disabling the comment section on this article in order to protect both the commenting member and ourselves from potential liability. Should you have additional information that you think we should know, please email [email protected]"

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