Simnikiwe Hlatshaneni
Premium Journalist
3 minute read
19 May 2021
8:06 pm

Provinces vow to pick up slow Covid-19 vaccinations pace

Simnikiwe Hlatshaneni

South Africa is on its third day in phase two of government's vaccine rollout, which prioritises those who are 60 years old and above.

Elderly South Africans receive the Covid-19 vaccine at the Munsieville Centre for the Aged, on Monday, as part of phase two of the vaccine campaign. Picture: Bega

Provincial governments have vowed to improve on the slow start to the Covid-19 vaccine rollout to the general public so far, after just 39,371 people were vaccinated over the past two days.

The country is on its third day in phase two of government’s vaccine rollout, which prioritises those who are 60 years old and above.

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Provincial health departments say they are partnering with various community groups and other departments to speed up the registration and vaccination drive for rollout. But this is taking longer in some provinces than in others.

Eastern Cape

In the Eastern Cape, vaccine recipients who spoke to The Citizen reported short queues and virtually empty waiting areas when they went to get their jabs at Frere Provincial Hospital.

According t0 Eastern Cape health department spokesperson Sizwe Khuphelo, the total number of individuals vaccinated in the province to date is 67,308, but most of them are healthcare workers.

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The provincial department has registered 238,268 through the Electronic Vaccine Data System ( EVDS).

Phase one of the rollout in the Eastern Cape is targeting over 200,000 healthcare workers.

“The department, in partnership with the all key influential people in the community like political leadership, church leadership and traditional leaders, are currently creating demand for all the persons 60 years and above to register.”

Western Cape

Doing slightly better, the Western Cape government has administered 93,153 vaccines through phase one (a) or the Sisonke Trial as of 15 May. The province has seen 93,633 healthcare workers vaccinated out of a targeted 105,000.

This means 11,367 healthcare workers are left to be vaccinated.

Western Cape Premier Alan Winde said that last week, the province gradually increased its vaccination sites from 10 to 18, 8 of which are dedicated to persons over the age of 60.

By 5pm on 18 May 2021, 2495 vaccines had been administered through phase one (b) and phase two, according to Winde.

“The Western Cape government is rolling out vaccination sites gradually in order to identify and address unforeseen teething issues,” he said.

“On Monday the province started with only 10 vaccination sites, seven sites dedicated to healthcare workers and those over 60 years old, and three sites dedicated to healthcare workers only. On Tuesday, this gradually increased to a total of 18 vaccination sites including eight dedicated to older persons.

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“During the first week the Western Cape will use the opportunity to identify teething problems to address so we can have a streamlined process as we move forward with the implementation of the rollout.

“Sites are identifying and contacting a small number of over 60s to come for their vaccinations, while they are continuing to vaccinate healthcare workers and do outreaches to old age homes.”


In KwaZulu-Natal, health MEC Nomagagu Simelane-Zulu said the province had managed to see 92,715 healthcare workers inoculated out of a total 162,142 for both the public and private sectors.

Though her office could not provide early figures for phase two, the province has a total of 689 prepared vaccination sites for the rollout of both the Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccines.

On Monday, 27 healthcare facilities and 5 community vaccination sites commenced with the rollout of the Pfizer vaccine.