UPDATE: How the vaccine rollout is going in SA’s provincesNurse Zoliswa Gidi-Dyosi was the first healthcare worker in South Africa to receive the vaccine. PHOTO: GCIS

UPDATE: How the vaccine rollout is going in SA’s provinces

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The National Council of Provinces convened on Thursday to receive an update on the country’s vaccine acquisition and roll out plan. The country aims to vaccinate over 1.1 million healthcare workers by the end of March, according to the Minister of Health Dr Zweli Mkhize.

Provinces presented their vaccine rollout plans, except North West Province that was experiencing technical difficulties.  

Eastern Cape

Acting MEC of Health in the Eastern Cape Xolile Nqatha said the province started its vaccination drive on 17 February, and that 1 687 healthcare workers had been vaccinated by 23 February. Vaccination is currently being done at Livingstone Hospital and Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital, although progress has been slow at the latter.

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The province will take steps to improve uptake at Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital, Nqatha added, such as providing six additional consulting rooms for vaccinators and computers for data capturers, engaging with healthcare workers in the immediate neighbouring site as well as the private sector to encourage them to register for vaccination. They are also working on the logistics to open the site over weekends.

Initially, 12 sites were identified in the province for phase one. During the briefing, Nqatha told MPs these sites have been assessed and are ready to be used. Nqatha said that there is adequate storage capacity for the vaccines for phase one, but additional capacity is required for phase two and three.

Healthcare workers at the Nelson Mandela Hospital get their jabs. PHOTO: Eastern Cape Health /Facebook
Healthcare workers at the Nelson Mandela Hospital get their jabs. PHOTO: Eastern Cape Health /Facebook

In order to prepare for phase two and three of the roll out, the province intends to collaborate with the private sector to increase the capacity for vaccination, as well as the Department of Education. They want to use between 1. 800 and 2 000 school buildings to vaccinate about 35.5% of community members when the learners are not at school.

Ngatha added that mobile units will be dispatched to 33 far-flung communities for vaccination. In total 5 414 vaccination sites have been identified in the province.

Free State

The province’s MEC for Health, Montseng Tsiu, said that 6 880 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine had been delivered to the province last week. Vaccinations started on 17 February at the Universitas Academic Hospital, which received 3 800 doses and the Pelonomi Tertiary Hospital, which received 3 080 doses.

Tsiu said that 2 749 healthcare workers had been vaccinated by 24 February.

Free State Health MEC Montseng Tsiu. PHOTO: Free State Health/Facebook
Free State Health MEC Montseng Tsiu. PHOTO: Free State Health/Facebook

When the second batch of vaccines arrives, the province will expand its vaccination sites to include three other hospitals, namely Life Rose Park Hospital, Bongani Regional Hospital, and Fezi Ngumbentombi District Hospital.

Gauteng

MEC for Health, Dr Nomathemba Mokgethi presented the province’s roll out plan, and said that vaccinations were taking place at Steve Biko Academic Hospital and Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital.

The province received 16 800 doses of the first batch of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, with 5 571 of these being allocated to the private sector. Overall, 5 720 doses went to Steve Biko – and 11 080 went to Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital.

Dr Ornica Khobo-Mpe, head of the clinical unit at Steve Biko Hospital gets het jab. PHOTO: Gauteng Health/Twitter

Mokgethi told MPs that private sector healthcare workers and GPs will be vaccinated on weekends.

By 24 February, Mokgethi said Steve Biko Hospital used all the doses allocated to it, and Chris Hani Baragwanath allocated 2 000 doses to allow the hospital to resume the rollout the next day. She said that by 24 February 9 340 healthcare workers had been vaccinated.

The province will use all the doses allocated to it, and are exploring the possibility of expanding the vaccination process to Doctor George Mukhari Hospital and Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital, she said.

KwaZulu-Natal (KZN)

MEC for Health in the province, Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu said KZN’s vaccination rollout started on 18 February. She said that 10 800 doses were delivered to the province, 30% of which was allocated to the private sector.

Vaccinations are being done at Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital, which was allocated 5 040 doses and Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital, which was allocated 5 760.

She added that right now the vaccination process is focused on the urban centres, but the province has plans to add more vaccination sites when the second, third and fourth batches of the Johnson & Johnson vaccines arrive to reach other districts.

Health workers get vaccinated at the Prince Mshiyeni Hospital in KwaZulu-Natal. PHOTO: KZN Health/Facebook
Health workers get vaccinated at the Prince Mshiyeni Hospital in KwaZulu-Natal. PHOTO: KZN Health/Facebook

For the second batch, the plan is to add four new vaccination sites, namely Edendale Hospital, General Justice Gizenga Mpanza Memorial Hospital, Madadeni Hospital, and St Augustine’s Hospital. The third batch will be distributed to Ngwelezane, GJ Crookes, Hlabisa and Ladysmith Hospitals. Finally, the fourth batch will be distributed to Dundee, Christ the King and Benedictine Hospitals.

She said that by 25 February, the province had vaccinated 7 337 healthcare workers.

She added that the province is ready for the next phases of the roll out in terms of infrastructure, and will use community halls, as well as schools where clinics are far so that the community can access vaccines. There will also be teams that will go out to vaccinate people.

Limpopo

MEC for Health Dr Phophi Ramathuba, said that the vaccination process started on 19 February. For the initial rollout plan, the province had planned to use 37 hospitals as vaccination sites for phase one, but right now they have adjusted the strategy to administer vaccinations at Pietersburg Hospital and Mankweng Hospital.

She added that for phase two and three of the vaccine rollout, the province plans to possibly augment venues that will be in the community, including schools, churches, and community halls. Tents may also be used.

Vaccinations are well on the way at Pietersburg Hospital in Limpopo.

She said the plan is to have 169 vaccinators trained by the time the province was expecting to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine.

According to slides presented during the presentation, a total of 7 160 doses from the first batch of Johnson & Johnson vaccines were allocated to the province, 4 080 went to Pietersburg Hospital and 3 080 went to Mankweng Hospital.

The slides also showed that by 22 February, 1 304 healthcare workers had been vaccinated. 

Mpumalanga

MEC for Health, Sasekani Manzini, said that the vaccination rollout started on 19 February at Rob Ferreira Hospital and Witbank Hospital.

She said 2 000 doses were allocated to Rob Ferreira hospital, which has 15 vaccinators and 1 640 doses for Witbank Hospital, which has 8 vaccinators.

Healthcare workers at Rob Ferreira Hospital in Mpumalanga wait their turn to be vaccinated. PHOTO: Mpumalanga DOH/Facebook
Healthcare workers at Rob Ferreira Hospital in Mpumalanga wait their turn to be vaccinated. PHOTO: Mpumalanga DOH/Facebook

The weekend was used to vaccinate healthcare workers from the private sector. On Saturday they vaccinated healthcare workers from private hospitals and on Sunday private GP’s.

The next batch of vaccines to arrive will be allocated to Mapulaneng and Ermelo Hospitals.

Northern Cape

MEC for Health in the Northern Cape, Maruping Lekwene, said that the province received 3 920 doses on 17 February. These were transported to Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Hospital, and the vaccination drive started there on the same day.

He added that the province had vaccinated 1 815 healthcare workers at the time of the presentation, which is about 50% of their target from the initial batch of vaccines.

Northern Cape Health MEC Maruping Lekwene gets his jab along with NC Premier Dr Zamani Saul. PHOTO: Northern Cape Health/Facebook
Northern Cape Health MEC Maruping Lekwene gets his jab along with NC Premier Dr Zamani Saul. PHOTO: Northern Cape Health/Facebook

Lekwene said the province will submit a proposal to the Sisonke Program to expand the vaccination sites, as the province has some “peculiarities” due to being a largely rural province. Lekwene proposed to add four more vaccination sites including LenMed Royal Heart Hospital, Dr Harry Surtie Hospital, Kuruman Hospital, and Central Karoo Hospital.

Lekwene listed 15 vaccination sites that the province intends to use for phase two and three of the vaccination roll out. Each site will have a designated pharmacist to help ensure that the cold chain is maintained.

Western Cape

MEC for Health, Dr Nomafrench Mbombo, told the NCOP that the province’s vaccine rollout started on 17 February at the Khayelitsha District Hospital. The province received 13 160 doses from the first batch of the Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

The province now has four vaccination sites after Karl Bremer Hospital was added on 23 February.

She said that by 24 February 7 116 healthcare workers had been vaccinated in the province, and 1 481 vaccinators had been trained.

During a press conference on Wednesday, COO for Health in the province, Dr Saadiq Kariem said that the province has developed a vaccine rollout plan set to run over the next eight weeks to distribute the Johnson & Johnson vaccines allocated to it as part of the Sisonke Program. They expect that 40% of the province’s healthcare workers will be vaccinated during this time.

According to Kariem, the plan divides the allocated doses into four tranches. The province is currently in the first tranche.

Additional vaccination sites will be added with each tranche, except tranche four, which will be used as a “mop-up” drive to vaccinate any healthcare worker who might have been missed in the first three.

Tranche one will run until 2 March at the four vaccination sites that are currently active in the province.

Healthcare workers at Tygerberg Hospital get their jabs. PHOTO: Western Cape Department of Health/Twitter
Healthcare workers at Tygerberg Hospital get their jabs. PHOTO: Western Cape Department of Health/Twitter

Tranche two will run from 2 March to 16 March and will comprise seven vaccination sites including Groote Schuur Hospital, Tygerberg Hospital, Khayelitsha District Hospital, Mitchell’s Plain District Hospital, George Hospital, Worcester Hospital and Paarl Hospital.

Tranche three will run from 17 March to 30 March with seven additional vaccination sites which will include Helderberg Hospital, Ceres Hospital, Hermanus Hospital, Caledon Hospital, West Coast District (Bergriver, Cederberg, Swartland, Saldanha, Matzikama), Central Karoo District (Beaufort West, Laingsburg, Prince Albert), Garden Route (Hessequa, Kannaland, Outshoorn).

Over the next eight weeks, Kariem said the vaccines will be allocated pro rata to the number of staff “in the identified facilities within each of those defined sub districts”. The vaccines will be prioritised in each facility by looking at the individual risk factors of the staff. This includes their age, whether they have co morbidities, and if they are patient-facing or not.

During the press conference, Mbombo acknowledged the rural areas were left out of the first leg of the vaccination drive. This is because vaccination sites had to be accessible to the Medical Research Council researchers so that they can oversee the process of administrating vaccines.

Mbombo added that the province wants to target 500 healthcare workers per day in each of the big hospital sites, namely Groote Schuur and Tygerberg, and 100 for Khayelitsha District hospital. Details about the other sites will be shared later.

Kariem added that the province had been preparing for the storage needs of the Pfizer vaccine, and currently has the capacity to safely store at least 450 000 vials.

North West

Had technical difficulties and was unable to present.

Vaccinations underway at Klerksdorp Hospital in North West. PHOTO: North West DOH/Facebook
Vaccinations underway at Klerksdorp Hospital in North West. PHOTO: North West DOH/Facebook

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