QUEUES at Groote Schuur Hospital where staff from private hospitals across Cape Town are lining up to be vaccinated against Covid-19. | Tracey Adams African News Agency (ANA)
QUEUES at Groote Schuur Hospital where staff from private hospitals across Cape Town are lining up to be vaccinated against Covid-19. | Tracey Adams African News Agency (ANA)

Western Cape already planning for next phases despite phase 1 vaccine challenges

By Theolin Tembo Time of article published Feb 24, 2021

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Cape Town - While phase 1 of the vaccine rollout in the Western Cape has come with its challenges, the province is already planning for the forthcoming phases.

During the weekly digital conference on the Western Cape’s fight against Covid-19, Premier Alan Winde said they have experienced some minor early challenges in the rollout of phase 1, but that “most have already been addressed and resolved”.

He mentioned that some of these were syringe filling times and electronic issues.

“We have seen the number of people being vaccinated increasing daily. Early on, syringe filling times caused some delays, but ongoing training of pharmacists has helped to resolve this problem.

“We have also experienced some challenges with the national government’s electronic system, however, we have been able to rely on a paper based back up system while these issues were being addressed,” Winde said.

“Phases 2 and 3 will cover larger numbers of residents and will include other front-line services, people in congregate settings, those at risk due to age or comorbidity and, finally, in phase 3 the general adult population.

“We are working hard to put all the systems in place to roll out these phases when the time comes,” he said.

To date, the Western Cape has:

  • Finalised our master facilities list where vaccination will take place.
  • Trained 1444 vaccinators to date.
  • Confirmed the minus 70 degree storage capacity required for the Pfizer vaccine, with space for 450 000 vaccine vials.
  • Prepared site readiness packs which will assist sites as they come online.
  • Secured sufficient PPE for the vaccine rollout.

Winde added: “As announced in my State of the Province address last week, the Department of Health has made contact with vaccine suppliers and those manufacturers who responded to my call for vaccines, and today is the due date to supply all the required information.

“Once all this information is obtained, it will be evaluated by the sourcing team.”

While the focus is now on vaccinations, he said that the province was still carefully monitoring key Covid-19 indicators, which have for the sixth week in a row we recorded decreases:

  • The reproductive or R number is currently 0.78-a number below 1 is a good sign.
  • The seven-day rolling average of new Covid-19 infections has declined by 16%.
  • Hospital admissions have declined by 11% over the past 7 days, and deaths have declined by 40%.
  • The proportion of tests returning a positive result is now below 10% and currently sits at 8%.
  • The Hospital of Hope at Brackengate currently has 33 patients admitted, the Mitchells Plain Hospital of Hope currently has 25 patients admitted and Sonstraal has 7 patients admitted.
  • A total of 65 health-care workers are currently Covid-19 positive – a dramatic change since the peak when over 1 000 health-care workers were positive at one time.
  • Oxygen use currently stands at just over 37 tons a day, well below the Afrox plant’s daily manufacturing capability.

As of Wednesday, the Western Cape has 4 134 active Covid-19 infections with a total of 274 469 confirmed Covid-19 cases and 259 237 recoveries. A total of 5 389 vaccines had been administered by 5pm on 23 February.

Winde said that these are all positive signs of recovery in the Western Cape but everyone must continue to do everything possible to protect themselves and loved ones from Covid-19.

“As the Western Cape government, we continue to employ our hot spot strategy in all of our districts to manage Covid-19 locally.

“This strategy has been proven to be effective, but we need members of the public to continue to use prevention behaviour to protect themselves and others.”

Cape Argus

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