Mr Koos De Villiers, a resident at ACVV Aandskemering Old Age Home in Malmesbury was the first resident in the West Coast to receive a Covid-19 vaccination. Picture: Western Cape Government
Mr Koos De Villiers, a resident at ACVV Aandskemering Old Age Home in Malmesbury was the first resident in the West Coast to receive a Covid-19 vaccination. Picture: Western Cape Government

Slow pace of vaccinations among the poor concerns politicians

By Mwangi Githahu Time of article published May 31, 2021

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Cape Town - Politicians are concerned about the slow pace of vaccinations in poor communities despite the provincial health department promising to increase the number of vaccination sites across the province as more vaccines arrive from the national government.

While happy to hear about the greater number of vaccination sites, ANC provincial health spokesperson Rachel Windvogel said she was concerned that the department had no strategy to reach out to rural areas made up of farming communities who are being excluded.

“My other concern is the low pace of registrations in our coloured and black townships. It seems there is also no awareness strategy and no political will to assist the poor.

“We call on the provincial government to put more energy and resources into accelerating the roll-out in the rural regions and poor working class communities in the metro.

Launching the province’s interactive, public-facing vaccination dashboard, Premier Alan Winde said the dashboard has the ability to give a breakdown by the district and local municipality of residents who have registered for their vaccine, and a percentage of this relative to the eligible population.

A look at the dashboard from earlier this morning. Picture: Screengrab

The dashboard uses statistics from the StatsSA 2020 mid-year population estimates. Winde said: “While it may not be 100% perfect, because population numbers by area may have changed over the last year, it is a very useful tool to determine trends.

“The most evident trend so far is that registrations in poorer communities are much lower when compared to other areas. The main reason for this is the lack of access to the resources that would enable registration on the EVDS (Electronic Vaccination Data System).

“This is very worrying to me. Vaccines save lives, and every life must matter, no matter where you live, or what you earn. We must ensure a fair, and equitable vaccination programme in our province.

“On this note, I strongly believe that the registration process needs to be simplified considerably so that all barriers to getting the vaccine are removed. This is something that we will raise with the national government.”

He said the province had already taken a number of steps to help those without resources to register including the training of staff at all 75 Cape Access Centres across the province so that they can help residents register for free and zero-rating the EVDS portal on public wi-fi hotspots.

According to the department’s latest projections their scale-up approach will see the number of daily vaccinations administered increase from 6 000 a day, as was the case last week, to over 12 000 a day this week.

Provincial head of health Dr Keith Cloete said the department’s plan is to reach 24 000 vaccinations a day by the week of June 7.

“This approach, in particular, will prevent a stop/start vaccination programme because it has factored in the supply of vaccines, which arrive weekly.”

mwa[email protected]

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