KZN exploring new ways to boost vaccinations
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DURBAN - MORE than 1.8 million people have been vaccinated in KwaZulu-Natal, with the roll-out set to start on Monday with homeless people in the eThekwini Municipality region.
Municipal spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela said the roll-out would start with those who had identity documents at various sites, including the Jewish Hall, the Strollers Building on Tuesday, the Denis Hurley Centre on Wednesday, and Block AK on Stamford Hill Road on Thursday.
The vaccination of homeless people forms part of the government’s programme to ensure all citizens have access to vaccines.
Meanwhile, KwaZulu-Natal has piloted a couple of vaccination drives to boost vaccination numbers, which have slowed down in recent weeks in the province as a result of civil unrest and misinformation.
On Sunday, the NMJ Community Hall on Hendry Road, in Overport, operated as a “drive-thru” vaccination site. On Friday, the taxi sector opened a vaccination site at the Chesterville taxi rank, in the Durban city centre, while in recent weeks “drive-thru” vaccination drives were also piloted in the King Cetshwayo District and eMhlathuze Sports Complex Grounds in Richards Bay.
Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane said they would also take vaccinations to churches and tribal courts. She said the department was ready and excited to vaccinate those aged between 18 and 35.
If the department sees that they come out in large numbers, it will open all 630 vaccination sites in the province. The department has been using about 250 sites because of low turnouts. The department said that it had the personnel to operate the sites, and that it had the requisite vaccine doses.
“We’ve passed 1.8 million vaccinations. When you look at it, it’s a big number – but if we look at how we vaccinated in previous weeks, we should have passed this number a long time ago because we were rapid, vaccinating not less than 30 000 people daily. But, as recently mentioned, people are starting to be afraid and not coming forward. We’re hopeful that in three weeks we will have gone further,” Simelane said.
She said there was a lot of chatter about the need for booster doses down the line. However, their scientists had not said anything about this.
Simelane also reminded the public that in April this year the SA Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra) launched its Med Safety app, which was designed to simplify and promote the reporting of suspected adverse drug reactions, which also include adverse effects of the Covid-19 vaccines. The app also allowed users to learn about medicine safety news from Sahpra, creating awareness of medicines and their potential adverse effects and pharmacovigilance (medicine safety).
This was following regular reports of people allegedly dying after getting the Covid-19 vaccine.
World Health Organization (WHO) representative in South Africa, Dr Owen Kaluwa, said: “Vaccines are the new and very critical addition to our arsenal in our fight against Covid-19. Currently, only 11% of the adult population is fully vaccinated in South Africa. For those who have the opportunity to get vaccinated, it is extremely important that you do so, so that severe disease and deaths can be prevented.”