South Africa

CORONAVIRUS NEWSFLASH

Premier Alan Winde urges residents to ‘take six minutes’ to help others register for the Covid vaccine

Western Cape Health Departmental head, Dr Keith Cloete (not pictured) said the province was anticipating its third wave to be smaller than the second, which was experienced towards the end of 2020. (Photo by Gallo Images/Sharon Seretlo)

The Western Cape Government is urging residents to help register their neighbours and families for the Covid-19 vaccine. This comes as the province sees a resurgence of cases, but authorities confirm the Western Cape is not yet in the midst of a third wave. 

During a media briefing on Thursday, 20 May, Western Cape authorities urged residents to help others register to receive their Covid-19 vaccinations. The announcement comes as the province incrementally kick-starts the process of vaccinating residents over the age of 60 and healthcare workers. 

Addressing the media in a virtual briefing, Premier Alan Winde said it was “evident” that accessibility and connectivity problems with registering on the Electronic Vaccination Data System (EVDS) platform were a primary concern, particularly for those without access to data and smartphones. 

Winde said it was evident “that those citizens who cannot register need help”. He urged residents to help those battling with the EVDS by allocating six minutes of their time to assist. 

This week, Covid-19 vaccinations rollouts began across South Africa for persons over the age of 60. The Western Cape has prioritised vaccinations for seniors living in old age homes. 

Health MEC Dr Nomafrench Mbombo this week said, “We start slow and gradually increase sites,” alluding to a ramp-up in vaccinations in the coming weeks and months. Currently, the province has 18 vaccination sites, located mainly around the Cape metropole area.  

Western Cape Health Departmental head, Dr Keith Cloete said more vaccination sites would soon be coming on board soon including through the private sector at Clicks outlets and on MediClinic private healthcare group sites. At the time of publishing, 4,331 vaccines have been administered to people over the age of 60 since Monday.  

This brings the total number of vaccinations administered in the province, including healthcare workers via the Sisonke protocol, to 97,484.

Cloete said the health department would be trying to provide adequate prior notice of up to three days, or ideally seven days, to those with vaccine appointments. This follows complaints earlier this week from people receiving their appointment notifications at only a few hours’ notice. (Read reports here and here). 

Cloete also provided an update on the number of Covid-19 cases. 

The national Health Department had confirmed several provinces such as Gauteng, Free State and the Northern Cape were experiencing their third wave of Covid-19 infections. 

Cloete said the province was anticipating its third wave to be smaller than the second, which was experienced towards the end of 2020. He said the province was experiencing a ‘resurgence’ of Covid-19 cases, but had met the criteria as yet to be confirmed as a third wave. 

However, according to Cloete, the province could enter its third wave within the next few weeks, “if the current trajectory continues”. 

Cases were increasing in mainly affluent areas of the province, said Cloete, based on increased testing conducted at private facilities. He cautioned vigilance, noting a case in a northern district of the Cape metropole in which four people were reported to contracted Covid-19 at a party at a farm in the area. Cloete also referenced a Mother’s Day event in a southern district where seven out 20 guests were found to be infected with Covid-19. 

However, concern is also growing along the West Coast, where increasing numbers of cases are occurring in the Matzikama and Vredendal areas, near the Northern Cape. Cloete confirmed the health department was in regular communication with its counterpart in the Northern Cape regarding “heightened awareness about travel” in the region. Cloete called on residents to flatten the Covid-19 curve by: 

  • Mask wearing’
  • Avoiding non-essential gatherings;
  • Keeping essential gatherings outdoors and with adequate physical distancing; and
  • Working remotely, if possible.

“We anticipate that the third wave will be lower than the second wave,” said Dr Cloete, who added, “however this is dependent on the strength of our behaviour over the coming weeks”. 

“At the very least, please help fellow citizens get registered,” Winde concluded. DM

Gallery

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