Western Cape Premier Alan Winde says once the Covid-19 vaccines land in the country SAHPRA will conduct a quality control process. The Biovac Institute will then distribute vaccines to the provinces. He anticipates their arrival within the next two weeks.
The province’s Central Medical Depot will then distribute vaccines to provincial healthcare facilities, City of Cape Town facilities as well as to the private sector facilities.
Read more on the province’s planning below:
Logistical planning is underway to ensure smooth rollout of vaccines
The allocation of the first centrally procured vaccine doses to provinces is being finalized nationally. The Covishield vaccine will be used for both doses to each healthcare worker.
In phase 1, we have targeted approximately 105 000 people working in the healthcare sector. This group includes public and private healthcare workers, community healthcare workers, care workers, health sciences students and traditional healers.
In phase 2, we estimate vaccinating 2 million essential workers, people in congregate settings, and vulnerable groups including people older than 60, and anyone older than 18 with high-risk co-morbidities.
In phase 3, a further 2.9 million people, over the age of 18 will be vaccinated.
Our Department of Health is currently working to finalise the minute details of the vaccination plan. This includes:
- Identifying each vaccination site, which must be accredited.
- Identifying specific vaccinators at each site who will all be trained and accredited.
It is important to us that people understand the science behind vaccines and that we build trust
It is important to us that throughout the entire vaccination programme, we are transparent, and that we share credible, science-based information with our healthcare workers who will be the first to receive the vaccine, and with members of the public.
The Department of Health has conducted a rapid poll to determine staff readiness for the vaccine. Of the 1680 responses we have received so far, 54% have indicated that they would take the vaccine, 19% have indicated they would not, and 26% were still undecided.
We understand that there may be a fear of the unknown, which is exacerbated by fear and mixed messages on social media and in communities. We will therefore be taking steps to build vaccination confidence by:
- Addressing medical concerns such as whether the vaccine is effective, whether it is effective against the variant and whether the vaccine is safe.
- Addressing religious and cultural concerns. This week the Provincial Minister of Health, Nomafrench Mbombo, undertook a meeting with traditional healers where she engaged with them on their concerns and questions and we will continue to hold these kinds of frank discussions.
- Addressing misinformation. Throughout the pandemic, we have seen a lot of misinformation about Covid-19 and similar misinformation exists around the vaccine. As we have done from day one of the pandemic, this government will continue to be open and honest with our residents.
We have therefore set about developing a set of tools which will provide evidence-led and quality information. This includes developing a workplace readiness toolkit, which includes answers to frequently asked questions, a presentation, guides for managers and updated publications and information.
We are also developing remote training materials for vaccinators and will conduct weekly training check-ins and regular Covid-19 information sessions with all of our healthcare workers.
The Covid-19 vaccine will be a key drive for this government over the next few months to protect our residents against Covid-19. It however remains imperative that until we have widespread vaccine coverage, we all continue to implement the basic infection prevention measures which we have used up until now including mask wearing, hygiene and handwashing, as well as social distancing.
As a province, we have worked hard to manage the pandemic and to save lives. We must ensure that we make every effort to continue to do so, without compromising the livelihoods of our residents who have already suffered tremendously under the lockdown.