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By Marizka Coetzer


Vaccine rollout already facing a few hiccups in Gauteng

Wits professor says at the current rate, many won’t be vaccinated.

The first trial to vaccinate healthcare workers across Gauteng has already experienced its first hiccups as thousands, including doctors, queued, only to be turned away.

A Pretoria East general practitioner (GP), Dr Lukas de Kock, said he was disappointed when he could not be vaccinated after applying and registering and getting a voucher number.

“GPs work with patients daily and the chances of contracting the virus are much higher.

“I registered to be vaccinated on 15 February after receiving a letter from different councils and the department, informing us to register and book.”

De Kock said he received an SMS confirmation for the booking, along with the voucher number, the following day for his appointment to be vaccinated on Sunday at 5pm.

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“When we arrived 15 minutes before the appointment, the head of the programme said they had no vaccines available and had used up their quota for the day.”

De Kock was advised to arrive for his next appointment earlier and stand in a queue.

Professor Alex van den Heever from the Wits University School of Governance said the incident at the Steve Biko Academic Hospital was to be expected as part of the teething process.

“We are currently modelling a trail because the vaccine has not been regularly approved for a rollout. This is an extension of an existing trial, not a roll-out.”

Van den Heever said the vaccination sites are currently focused on public delivery sites and suggested vaccination sites should also be put up in private facilities to help roll out the vaccinations.

He said there was already a shortage of vaccines.

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“Even with the 500,000 doses on the way, what we have doesn’t cover all the front-line workers in the public and private sector. We can’t do 40 million vaccines at this rate,” Van der Heever said.

Anastacia Tomson, a doctor from Cape Town, said being vaccinated was surreal.

“After the vaccine, I had tenderness and pain in the arm. By bedtime, I felt freezing cold and was shaking a little bit. Through the night, as the fever broke, I began to sweat.”

But Tomson said the physical symptoms are minimal.

– marizkac@citizen.co.za

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