Meanwhile, the next phase in the province’s vaccination strategy is the opening of mass vaccination sites. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane African News Agency (ANA)
Meanwhile, the next phase in the province’s vaccination strategy is the opening of mass vaccination sites. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane African News Agency (ANA)

Western Cape to ramp up vaccinations as Covid-19 cases increase

By Mwangi Githahu Time of article published Jun 25, 2021

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Cape Town - As Covid-19 case numbers increase across the province, with an average of 1 039 new diagnoses and around 15 deaths each day, the province is looking to ramp up vaccinations and enforce restrictions on gatherings to contain the third wave.

Speaking at the regular health and vaccination digital news conference update, provincial head of health Dr Keith Cloete said that across the province case numbers are increasing rapidly, with an average of 1 039 new cases each day.

“Hospital admissions are increasing, with an average of 86 new admissions per day, and deaths have also started to increase now, with around 15 deaths daily.

Dr Cloete said the province had received confirmation from the national department of health that it will receive 191 880 doses of Pfizer this week, to be used over two weeks. The weekly supply pipeline of J&J is also expected to be confirmed over the coming week.

Meanwhile, the next phase in the province’s vaccination strategy is the opening of mass vaccination sites.

This is being done in time for the announcement expected in the next week that the target of vaccinating 70% of the over 60s has been met, and the transition to other age groups can begin, Dr Cloete said.

During the press conference it was announced that the province has entered into a partnership with the City and Discovery Health, and together they are in the process of commissioning a mass vaccination site at the CTICC.

The mass vaccination centre is expected to go live in July and is to run for six months.

A joint statement released by Premier Alan Winde, Mayor Dan Plato and Discovery chief executive Ryan Noach, said the province would be primarily responsible for overall coordination, supply of vaccines, clinical and facilities management.

“Discovery Health will be responsible for client experience, various aspects of the technology solution and administrative functions.

“The parties will jointly manage the site day-to-day to ensure that it runs efficiently and effectively, ensuring a seamless vaccination experience for all who attend, both medical scheme members and uninsured residents of the metro.”

In June last year, at the height of the first wave, the CTICC was designated a temporary field hospital with a capacity of 862 beds, dubbed the “Hospital of Hope”.

The hospital cared for more than 1 500 patients over the 11 weeks it was open.

The facility was closed in August, after the province passed its peak of hospital admissions, but by December when the second wave hit, there was a public outcry, with politicians and activists complaining that the provincial authorities had been too quick to close the facility.

The premier has also welcomed the announcement by the Acting Minister of Health, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane that registration for Covid-19 vaccinations will open for residents aged 50 to 59 years old from 1 July 2021.

This is in addition to those residents who are 60 years and older, who continue to be able to register for their vaccine if they decide to.

“I had requested this change at the President’s Coordinating Council so as to ensure a swift transition to next age group. This is an important step to ensure that we are ready for the next phase in the vaccination programme.

“We will now also extend this campaign to focus on residents between 50 years and 59 years old,” Winde said.

“I can also confirm that the Western Cape is ready to scale-up our vaccination roll-out significantly, to well-over 120 000 vaccinations a week, once the supplies arrive.”

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