HEALTH MEC Nomagugu Simelane was vaccinated on Friday at Vryheid District Hospital in northern KZN. She was vaccinated by Sister Zethu Magubane-Nkosi. Picture: Supplied
HEALTH MEC Nomagugu Simelane was vaccinated on Friday at Vryheid District Hospital in northern KZN. She was vaccinated by Sister Zethu Magubane-Nkosi. Picture: Supplied

How KZN’s vaccination process will unfold

By Thobeka Ngema Time of article published Mar 29, 2021

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Durban - HEALTH MEC Nomagugu Simelane has discussed how the vaccination process will unfold in the near future. She also called on the public to limit movement and worshippers to exercise caution ahead of the Easter weekend as it had the potential to become a super-spreader event.

Simelane said based on the first and second batches of vaccines they had received, both management and herself had decided that health workers treating Covid-19 patients should be vaccinated first.

At present, she said more than 30 000 health workers had been vaccinated in KwaZulu-Natal.

“Unfortunately, because we are currently dealing with health workers, we can’t have centres in the whole province. Although our centres are ready, due to the number of doses, we have one or two centres in each district and that centre becomes a catchment for a bigger group within the district,” said Simelane.

She said the department was currently in phase 1 of the vaccination stage, vaccinating health workers. Health workers who were treating Covid-19 patients on a day-to-day basis were being vaccinated first, and everyone working in a health facility would be vaccinated by the end of phase 1. This included cleaners, security personnel and administrative staff.

Simelane said it appeared that they would be getting more doses of the vaccine. Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize was engaging with international pharmaceutical companies which had started or were creating a vaccine. South Africa was promised the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and Pfizer vaccines. For a start, the country would receive about a million doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

“The difference between the Pfizer vaccine and the J&J vaccine is that the J&J vaccine only needs one dose and then you are done, but with the Pfizer vaccine it takes two doses.

“So we have then decided as a country that those who are further away from the cities, like Zululand, uMkhanyakude, uMzinyathi districts, in our case as a province, should be able to get the J&J vaccine because they will then just get a once=off dose and they don’t have to return to our health facilities. But those who are in town will then be able to get the Pfizer vaccine, which will then mean they come in twice and they get two jabs, probably within the space of about six weeks,” explained Simelane.

She said the health worker would explain how one will be vaccinated and whether one will be getting one or two doses of the vaccine.

With Easter around the corner, Simelane called for people to adhere to Covid-19 protocols.

She also called on church leaders to ensure that social distancing was maintained, sanitising was conducted and everyone wore a mask. She said they had engaged with church leaders who had committed themselves to this.

She also called on communities not to move around and for people to stay at home.

The three phases of South Africa’s vaccination roll-out programme:

Phase 1: Is being implemented over three months from February 17 to May 17, 2021, to target over 1.5 million (608 295 registered) health-care workers countrywide. The Health Department is on track to vaccinate all health-care workers by the end of Phase 1.

Phase 2: Will be implemented over six months, starting from May 18 to November 17, 2021. This phase will cover over 13 350 140 vulnerable groups, essential workers and occupational health and safety streams; i.e. workers in sectors that are critical for economic recovery such as mines, hospitality, taxi industry, retail including spaza shops and the informal sector, media and other applicable beneficiaries. The government is engaging with Nedlac on a process to detail the categories of essential workers and OHS stream and outline a process to follow in applying for inclusion in Phase 2. The vaccination sites for Phases 2 and 3 will expand to 2 085 and will also include private sector sites to improve the efficiency and speed of the vaccination roll-out programme.

Phase 3: Will be implemented over three months, between November 2021 and February 2022, to cover the remainder of all people in South Africa, targeting 22 600 640 people, including those who were not vaccinated in Phase 2.

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