Distell Employees get vaccinated in an independent vaccine roll-out. Picture: Western Cape government/Supplied
Distell Employees get vaccinated in an independent vaccine roll-out. Picture: Western Cape government/Supplied

Western Cape hits 1 million mark in Covid-19 vaccine roll-out, continues to gather pace

By Shakirah Thebus Time of article published Jul 27, 2021

Share this article:

Cape Town - The Western Cape surpassed a million vaccinations being administered in the province by Monday evening.

The provincial health department announced the news on Tuesday morning.

It said that while it celebrated the achievement, much more needed to be done and many more people needed to be vaccinated.

“While we continue to open registration for more age groups, we are balancing the demand and vaccine supply which we receive from the national government,” the department said.

"We have increased our capacity and ability to administer 30 000 vaccinations per day/150 000 per week.

“But we cannot do this alone, we need all eligible persons to take up vaccination and help us get to population immunity. Approximately 200 public vaccination sites are open daily to assist members of the public.

“In addition to these, the department also activated 10 sites on Saturday which saw 2 000 people being vaccinated.

“The vaccination offers great protection against severe illness and death. To date, almost 70% of health workers have been vaccinated and we continue to see the positive impact it has on our workforce.”

At the height of the first wave, from May to July last year, 4 525 health workers in the province were infected. At the height of second wave, 3 633 staff were infected. The number has dropped to 679 staff (501 active cases as at July 22) at the height of the third wave.

“This does go to show the protection the vaccine offers,” the department said.

The Western Cape government dashboard has reported 35 060 active cases of the virus, 386 936 confirmed cases, and 337 221 recoveries, at 1pm yesterday.

Around 14 655 people have succumbed to the virus. To date, 944 363 vaccinations have been administered.

The Covid-19 vaccinations will continue to be ramped up after an unexpected development in the national roll-out programme by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday evening. He announced that individuals aged 18 to 34 would be able to get vaccinated from September 1.

Ramaphosa said this would be in addition to the age groups eligible for vaccinations, which includes everyone over the age of 35.

Several additional measures have been put in place in an effort to ramp up vaccinations.

“We are now able to allow people to present themselves at a vaccination site without an appointment and be registered and vaccinated. This substantial increase in the rate of vaccination is made possible by improvements in the supply of vaccines,” said Ramaphosa.

In the next two to three months, the country is expected to receive 31 million additional vaccine doses from Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson, sufficient to carry the country through until the end of the year.

Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo and Premier Alan Winde have been out encouraging residents to get vaccinated, during respective vaccination drives.

Mbombo visited the Altona farm in Durbanville on Monday, via the pop-up vaccination bus, where she received her first jab of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine alongside farmworkers.

Mbombo said that by the end of the week, the province would have reached one million people vaccinated.

“The challenge for them is access to the facility but also there is no guarantee they will be able to come for the second dose because some of them are seasonal workers.

“I joined them to show that the vaccine is safe and also, most of the time, when I’m about to get vaccinated, there’s a shortage, so I’m excited that eventually I’m vaccinated together with the farmworkers,” Mbombo said.

“As we always say, we leave no one behind. The bus will be moving from farm to farm, as we did before.”

Winde joined Distell employees for their jabs, at the start of its independent vaccination programme for workers and their spouses, at the Bergkelder site in Stellenbosch yesterday.

Distell has been accredited to administer Covid-19 vaccines, with around 3 000 people registered so far.

Distell chief executive Richard Rushton said: “Vaccination is the only viable path out of this pandemic that will allow a sustainable return to full economic activity and getting people who have lost their jobs back to work.

“Every person who gets vaccinated is not only protecting themselves from Covid-19, but also reducing the opportunity for the virus to spread and contributing to the economic recovery. We’re also reducing the load on the rest of the vaccination programme, which frees up resources to vaccinate more people faster.”

[email protected]

Cape Argus

Share this article: