If you thought you would be afforded the luxury of picking which vaccine you’ll be getting, this won’t be the case for those in the Western Cape. Photographer: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)
If you thought you would be afforded the luxury of picking which vaccine you’ll be getting, this won’t be the case for those in the Western Cape. Photographer: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

Eeny, meeny, miny, no, you won't be picking which Covid-19 vaccine you’re getting

By Theolin Tembo Time of article published Apr 12, 2021

Share this article:

Cape Town - If you thought you would be afforded the luxury of picking which vaccine you’ll be getting, this will not be case for those in the Western Cape.

Premier Alan Winde said Western Cape residents won’t be given a choice of vaccine.

“Of course, you have a choice whether you have the vaccine but not (regarding) which one you get.

“It will probably not be ’can I have this or that one’, because we’ve got restricted numbers and the are restricted by the ability to roll them out across the whole province as quickly as possible.”

Winde said location and the South African Health Products Regulatory Authorit’sy (Sahpra) approval played a factor in the vaccine rollout.

“Obviously, it depends on the (Sahpra) approval, so, at the moment, we have only two vaccines that are approved but we have one in the trial.

“As soon as the two are rolled out, I think it’s also going to be dependent on where they can be rolled out to, based on the logistics.”

Provincial head of health Dr Keith Cloete said the logistics of what vaccine went where depended on the cold chain requirements. The Pfizer vaccine requires specialist ultra-cold freezers and storage.

He said the Western Cape government had signed a deal with Stellenbosch University for storage of the Pfizer vaccine. The university has storage space at -80°C to accommodate the vaccine.

“That contract is in place and everything is in place, so that when the Pfizer vaccines arrive, it will go straight to the storage facility.”

Dr Cloete said the department’s logistics stream has mapped out the cold chain requirements from the Stellenbosch site to the sites where vaccinations would happen.

He said that they have about four/five days to work with when it came to the Pfizer vaccine, and the whole administering process was worked out according to the cold chain requirements.

“We could work out how to maintain the vaccine at the required temperature, when to take it out, when to pull it up and how long it will be safe… One of the big things is the further you are away from the Stellenbosch storage site, the more logistically difficult it becomes to be able to keep the vaccines for longer.

“That’s why the routes are sorted out, and therefore, we will be doing a combination of Pfizer plus Johnson & Johnson when that commercial stock comes in.”

He said it made logistical sense for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to go to further locations in the province, and Pfizer vaccines to locations that were closer to the university.

He said the team was constantly mapping out logistical needs.

Dr Cloete said the expert advisory committee, which was set up with an array of experts to help the health department made difficult decisions when it came to Covid-19 matters, helped them reach the conclusion.

“One of the things they have advised us with, specifically dealt with this issue. The advice is that we should not, at point of administration, offer the choice between vaccines.”

“You will get either Pfizer or Johnson & Johnson.”

Cape Argus

Share this article: