No indication of third wave as vaccinations get ramped up
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Cape Town - As the country recorded 100 deaths last Friday, and infection rates plateauing after steadily decreasing, there is still no indication of a third wave.
Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize is touring the country to ramp up support for the vaccination campaign and was in the province, saying the country hopes to push efforts to see phase 1 of vaccinations wrapped up by mid-May.
Mkhize was speaking at a media briefing, at Lentegeur Hospital, yesterday.
As the country pushes to vaccinate its health-care workers, it is simultaneously putting plans in place for the second phase roll-out, which will run until mid-October.
Phase 2 will include the vaccination of essential workers, people in congregate settings and over 60 years of age, and people over 18 years of age with co-morbidities.
Dr Mkhize was joined by Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo, Health Department head Dr Keith Cloete, and Premier Alan Winde.
Dr Mkhize arrived in the province to assess its state of preparedness for the second phase roll-out, and visit vaccination sites.
“The plan is very well-aligned with the national vaccination program. I am quite comfortable that the plan will cover the entire province, comfortable also that the plan will take into account the diversity of the province – in terms of the metros, rural areas, and the population demographics.”
Logistics will change during phase 2, at various vaccine sites, as the Pfizer vaccine will be administered alongside the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine, with both needing to be administered differently.
The Pfizer vaccine is expected to arrive in the country, during the first week of May.
The department was conducting final consultations with ethics committees and will announce the resumption of the J&J vaccine, following its suspension last week.
Dr Cloete said: “What we need to do is vaccinate as many people over 60, as fast as we can, from May 17. It's scheduled to go to July 15, but if we can do it faster, as the minister gave us assurance, we will have the biggest impact because those the people that will be at risk when a third Covid-19 wave hits. And it's really about protecting them, protecting our hospitals, and protecting our staff at hospitals.”
Dr Cloete said the department was in advanced stages of planning for vaccination sites, like the site at Lentegeur Hospital, across the province.
Winde said the province is working to vaccinate around 30 000 - 40 000 people per day.
Mbombo provided a tour of the facility, explaining the process for vaccination.
I just met with National Health Minister, @DrZweliMkhize, regarding our vaccine rollout programme in the WC. We will now visit Mitchells Plain hospital to see the vaccination centre and assess progress on our province’s readiness for the next phase of the vaccine rollout. pic.twitter.com/43I07cQSbc— Premier Alan Winde (@alanwinde) April 19, 2021