A healthcare worker in KZN received the vaccine. Picture: Mothswari Mofokeng/African News Agency
A healthcare worker in KZN received the vaccine. Picture: Mothswari Mofokeng/African News Agency

1 279 health-care workers vaccinated in KZN in three days

By Thobeka Ngema Time of article published Feb 22, 2021

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Durban - A total of 1 279 health-care workers have been vaccinated in KwaZulu-Natal since last Thursday, Premier Sihle Zikalala said during a media briefing on Sunday.

Zikalala said they were extremely pleased that no health-care workers had suffered complications since taking the vaccine.

“Since the launch of the vaccine, we have vaccinated a total of 1 279 health-care workers. This is made up of 319 health-care workers at Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital on the first day, followed by 480 the next day, and at Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital (IALCH) we had vaccinated 80 on the first day and 400 the next day,” said Zikalala.

He added that, as of Saturday, 15 829 health-care workers had been infected with Covid-19 in the public sector since the beginning of the pandemic. Nurses (55%) made up most of the infections, and 335 nurses had died of Covid-19 complications.

Meanwhile, Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane set the record straight on general practitioners (GPs) complaining that they were turned away from being vaccinated last week.

Simelane said they had received 10 800 vaccines and on Friday the national Department of Health had indicated that 30% of the vaccines would be for the private sector.

She said GPs from across the province went to IALCH and Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital and made appointments to get vaccinated.

“We have had to indicate to them that vaccines that have been received are meant for health workers in the catchment area (IALCH and Prince Mshiyeni ). That also includes the GPs that are in that catchment area,” said Simelane.

Further, she said a list would be provided for GPs in the catchment areas that would be vaccinated.

Zikalala said they had noted a number of remarks on social media and on the radio that have tried to make the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine appear to be illegitimate because it was part of an academic study.

He said people were discrediting the vaccine without any scientific evidence.

Zikalala added that in line with established procedure, the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority was unable to register and license the vaccine before it was registered by the drugs regulatory body in the US.

He said the process might take a few weeks and they could not afford to wait. South Africa therefore made the decision to expedite access to the vaccine for health-care workers, who were at high risk of infection, by using the only mechanism to access this vaccine at this point, which is to roll out the vaccine through a study. Once the vaccine is licensed locally, it will be rolled out like all other vaccines available to the public locally – without the need to enrol all vaccine recipients into a study.

“It is just a technical matter that takes nothing away from the effectiveness, safety or importance of taking this vaccine. We all need to fully understand this, and appreciate the vaccine for what it is – a beacon of hope, after a long period of despair,” said Zikalala.

As of Saturday, he said KZN had recorded 313 new Covid-19 cases. The eThekwini district recorded 33% of these cases, followed by uMgungundlovu at 17% and uThukela at 12%.

He said KZN was still ranked the second-highest in terms of number of laboratory-confirmed cases countrywide.

“We have continued to observe a remarkable decline in the number of new cases weekly,” said Zikalala.

He said the average number of cases recorded in the past seven days remained below 500 cases per day, with a seven-day moving average of 327 cases.

The overall proportion of recoveries for the province is 93% (302 801). The proportion of recoveries in all the districts is above 80%.

As of Friday, February 19, 1 523 patients were admitted in both private (1 155) and public (368) hospitals. Of those admitted, 278 patients required intensive care services. Private hospitals had more patients in ICU (252) than public facilities (26).

Of the 2 957 Covid-19 isolation beds, 12% were occupied, and of the total ICU beds (117) allocated to the public sector, 22% were occupied.

The Daily News

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