Premier Alan Winde says they anticipate delivery of the Western Cape’s share of South Africa’s first batch of vaccines at our Cape Medical Depot within the next 5 to 10 days and have prepared all systems to ensure that everything is in place for an effective and efficient rollout.
The vaccines will be rolled out in three separate phases, starting with healthcare workers who are on the frontline.
First phase rollout:
The National Department of Health has confirmed that the Western Cape will receive 35 000 first doses for public sector healthcare workers, and 58 584 first doses for private sector healthcare workers (including hospitals, specialists, GPs, pathologists, radiographers, pharmacists, allied health workers, dentists, and other healthcare workers).
The number of vaccines available for City health, outsourced workers, community healthcare workers, students, undertakers, and traditional healers is still being finalized by the national government, and we expect an additional allocation to our province to cover these important frontline workers.
The National Department of Health has also committed that 2nd doses are guaranteed from the same Covishield allocation.
The vaccines will be delivered to the Cape Medical Depot from where they will be picked, packed and dispatched to the various vaccination sites.
Vaccines will be dispatched with all the related consumables (such as needles and syringes), vaccine cards (which will be dispensed to those who are vaccinated) and information sheets.
A dedicated courier is in place and ready to commence the delivery process in a week’s time.
For the first phase:
The province has identified 378 public sector facilities and 41 private facilities where vaccination will take place.
Authorities have ordered 93 vaccine friendly fridges which are due to arrive within the next few days.
They have ordered and received consumables including needles, swabs and cooler boxes.
They have conducted an assessment of the generators in various facilities and have portable generators on standby.
Nearly 2000 vaccinators began their online training this week, with 500 more applicants to be loaded onto the system
Winde says they are currently finalising the beneficiary list for all of those healthcare workers who are not on the Western Cape Government’s personnel system.
Officials have also met with the national Business for South Africa team. A dedicated Western Cape team who will engage with the private sector, will be formalized by tomorrow.
Phases 2 and 3:
Discussions have started on the planning for phases 2 and 3. These phases will require the massive scale up of our first phase roll out strategy.
In phase 2, Winde anticipates having to vaccinate up to 2 million residents who meet the following criteria: essential workers, people in congregate settings and vulnerable groups, including people over 60 and anyone older than 18, with high-risk comorbidities.
In phase 3, the aim is to vaccinate a further 2.9 million residents, and anyone over the age of 18 will qualify in this round.
Provincial Contingency Vaccine Acquisition:
Last week, the cabinet approved a framework for provincial contingency vaccine acquisition (and procurement), to supplement the national acquisition plan.
The Western Cape fully supports the national vaccine acquisition efforts in line with the constitutional principles of cooperative governance.
However, Winde says the Province finds itself in a situation globally where there is huge demand for vaccine supply, while suppliers are not yet producing vaccines at scale.
“A single acquisition vehicle carries inherent risk in this complex global system. This is especially the case in phases 2 and 3 of our vaccine rollout where large numbers of vaccines would be required and have not yet been guaranteed through national procurement.
Centralised procurement requires a contingency plan that is complementary to the national strategy.
This does not mean that the province does not support or does not want to be part of the national strategy. We will continue to work with the national Department of Health, and we will, of course, coordinate our efforts with theirs. But we will at the same time ensure we can mitigate the risk and ensure additional pathways to source vaccines.
Doing this not only reduces the risk associated with only one supply, but would also support the national effort, as any additional vaccines sourced for the Western Cape would be in support of the national cause overall.
Any contingency acquisition must remain within the core parameters of the national and provincial vaccination programme, and must be driven by clinical and professional ethics in vaccine selection and in the roll out. It must also be subject to the necessary regulatory requirements of SAPHRA and the Medicine Control Council.
The framework has as one of its key elements, a sourcing strategy which covers demand forecasting and planning, market analysis and the appropriate procurement modality. We need to properly understand demand in our market and at the same time, determine what product is available to us, in a rapidly changing market.
Alongside this, there is a regulatory analysis underway. There are complex medical and financial regulatory issues which first need to be assessed. All of these processes are necessary before we can formally approach the market in a procurement process that can go ahead within the regulatory framework.
These are complex processes which require minute scrutiny, and which are underway by our top officials. Once they are finalized in the coming weeks, the procurement effort may commence in earnest.”
Winde says following discussions with the Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, David Maynier as to how the Province would fund any additional vaccines procured by the province, Maynier has indicated that the provincial government has multiple sources of revenue available, including an equitable share of nationally raised revenues, conditional grants from national government, own revenue sources and provincial reserves.
He will announce further details when he tables the provincial budget on 10 March.
As a government which has been allocated a shared Constitutional mandate for the healthcare of its residents, we must be and are prepared to step in, if sufficient vaccines are not available.