Simnikiwe Hlatshaneni
Premium Journalist
2 minute read
16 Feb 2021
2:53 pm

SA healthcare workers in the dark about impending J&J vaccine rollout

Simnikiwe Hlatshaneni

The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (Denosa) has raised concern that the bulk of public-sector workers had not been trained to administer the jabs.

Picture: Tracy Lee Stark 

Healthcare workers were scratching their heads about reports that the department plans to begin vaccinating 1.2 million of them starting on Wednesday.

This as trade unions were still waiting for confirmation of a start date for the vaccine rollout and several key details they feel they should have been known by now.

On Tuesday morning, the South African Medical Association (SAMA) said it expected the rollout of Johnson & Johnson (J&J) to begin on Wednesday following government receiving its first batch of 80,000 vaccines.

The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (Denosa) raised concern that the bulk of public-sector workers had not been trained to administer the jabs, as thousands of healthcare workers scramble to register for vaccination.

Denosa spokesperson Sibongiseni Delihlazo said nurses were anxious about the lack of information at their disposal, about how many of their members would be called to administer the vaccines and how the rollout to healthcare workers would be conducted by each provincial health department.

Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize is expected to address some of these issues during his reply to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address in Parliament on Tuesday.

“All we can say is that there are areas we are concerned about, the pace at which information is being trickled down to us. We know that not every healthcare worker will be a ‘vaccinator’ but we know that all of us at some point has to be an end user,” said Delihlazo.

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While Gauteng and a few other provinces have made public their plans for rolling out the vaccines to healthcare workers, unions were still awaiting full briefing sessions from provincial health MECs and from Mkhize at a national level.

Spokesperson for the South African Medical Association Trade Union (Samatu) Dr Nkatheko Mnisi said as far as they knew, the department had yet to bring doctors into confidence about the deployment of doctors in the vaccine roll-out programme, but the union was expecting engagements with MECs in the coming weeks.

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