During a visit to the newly opened Nasrec field hospital in Gauteng on Monday 25 January, the provincial department of health indicated that they would be beginning to vaccinate South Africans by 1 February 2021, in line with assurances from government that delays in vaccine procurement would only suspend the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination strategy until the end of January.
The province is aiming to vaccinate over 10.72 million people, according to department officials, using all its health facilities – both private and public hospitals – to vaccinate around 40 healthcare workers per day during the rollout plan’s first phase.
Dumisani Malele, Head of medical supplies in the Gauteng Department of Health, said at the event that confirmation has been passed down from government that the Province will be able to begin vaccinating healthcare workers from next week.
“National [government] has informed us that probably by the end of this week we will be able to get our vaccine and our plan is to start the vaccinations by the first of February, depending on the availability and when the vaccine comes in,” he said.
“There are also four categories for healthcare workers in terms of prioritisation. Category one is for those who are conducting aerosol-generating procedures, which is incubation, ventilation and taking COVID-19 specimens.”
Malele said that systems have been put in place to ensure that meticulous data records are kept for those who receive their COVID-19 jabs.
“There is an electronic data system that will be able to look at the number of people that are coming, so every time a person comes to receive their vaccine they will be recorded and there will be an alert system that will inform them that they must come in for their next dose which is usually between 28 days and up to three months,” he said.
“In terms of the distribution, the vaccines will be coming from national [government] through a service provider who will be distributing these vaccines. We have enlisted our pharmacies and the vaccines will be distributed to the various districts in our province.”