The Western Cape government is gearing up to roll out a massive vaccine programme. The province’s Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo said over 138 000 health workers are already eligible to receive the vaccination.
“For the phase one, which targets our health professionals, there are 35 000 doses for employees of the department and for the City of Cape Town in the private sector they have a separate allocation. There will be a system in place. Two days ago we started our vaccination training,” said Mbombo, during a site visit on Thursday at the Central Medical Depot which would store and distribute the vaccines to several facilities.
Mbombo said the vaccines would be rolled out in sequences to health workers and that priority would be given to frontline workers who dealt with Covid-19 patients.
Also, 40% of the dosage allocation would be for the private sector.
Mbombo said the vaccine would be stored at the facility in cold rooms, between two to eight degrees Celsius.
The vaccines, which arrived at OR Tambo International Airport from India, are currently undergoing verification in Bloemfontein – thereafter the long-awaited vaccines will be distributed to various provinces.
Provincial health department director of pharmacy services, Kim Lowenherz, said: “Security is, of course, of utmost importance, so you will have unmarked police officers accompanying vaccine distribution as they leave.
“Maintaining the cold chain of the vaccines are also important so while they are distributed to the various hospitals they (the hospitals) is in charge of distributing and they have to maintain the cold chain.”
Lowenherz said each delivery of the vaccines would come with a package of needles, syringes and swabs.
Public health medicine specialist Professor Mary-Ann Davies said: “The electronic vaccine data system that has been put in place by national where you can already go and register for your vaccine, will record at the time of vaccination, which vaccine you receive, so we can look up which vaccine you received and give you the same dose.”
The Western Cape hoped to start the rollout of the vaccines next week. For the first phase of the rollout, around 378 sites across the province had been identified for vaccine administration.
Sites for phase two and three were currently still being finalised.