KZN’s updated plans for vaccine roll-out
DURBAN - THE KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health plans to have an electronic and manual method of registering to be vaccinated, as well as measures to reach and vaccinate those living in rural areas.
Head of department Dr Sandile Tshabalala said they have been ready for the Phase 2 roll-out for a long time.
“What’s important is that we had planned to finish our Phase 1 at the latest on May 15, and after that we will start Phase 2, now that Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize announced that those outside health (those aged 60 and over only) can register on the website,” said Tshabalala.
He said it was important to note that connectivity in KZN was not as good as in other areas, especially rural areas.
“That’s why, in KZN, we said in our hospitals we’ll use the website, but also the manual way of registering.”
However, he asked the public to provide correct contact details, and not those of someone they did not live with, so they can be contacted successfully.
The department also planned for mobile services to go out to certain areas, for those who could not attend vaccination sites. “We’re in communication with municipalities, mayors, councillors and traditional leadership … to use their areas and vaccinate those who can reach those areas,” said Tshabalala.
He said the aim was to vaccinate 67% of the KZN community when the time came. Tshabalala said if they could get many vaccines in a shorter space of time, based on their earlier planning of within a period of two to three months, they would be done – but they would be guided by those above them.
He said KZN’s Covid-19 figures decreased significantly. Compared to the first, second wave and now, there were new cases but they were low.
“Despite the figures looking like this, we ask people to continue looking after themselves and to get vaccinated.”
National Health spokesperson Popo Maja said as of 4pm on Monday, 337 261 people had enrolled on the Electronic Vaccination Data System (EVDS). If health-care workers were added, the figure rises to 1141963 people who have registered for vaccination.
Meanwhile, on Monday the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra) recommended that the pause in the Sisonke Phase 3B Implementation study be ended, provided specific conditions were met.
Sahpra said they engaged with the Sisonke Study team and Janssen Pharmaceutica on the safety data reported from the Sisonke study, following administration of the Covid-19 vaccine by Janssen, as well as the adverse events reported in the US.
According to Sahpra, the conditions included, but were not limited to, strengthened screening and monitoring of participants who were at high risk of a blood clotting disorder.
In addition, measures were to be implemented to ensure the safe management of any participants who developed vaccine-induced thrombosis and thrombocytopenia. The participant information sheets and informed consent forms would be updated to include the newly identified adverse events.
Participants in the Sisonke study would be informed about the possible risks of developing a blood clotting disorder after vaccination. They would also be advised to seek immediate medical assistance if they developed early signs and symptoms associated with blood clots or low platelet counts.
The study team would submit the required updated documents, procedures and study arrangements to Sahpra for approval.
Resumption of the Sisonke Phase 3B Implementation Study would also require approval from the relevant Research Ethics Committees.
Last Tuesday, Mkhize said six women developed unusual blood clots, with low platelets, in the US. These incidents occurred between six and 13 days after vaccination. In South Africa, there were no reports of clots forming after vaccination.
Mkhize said he held consultations with scientists and decided to suspend the roll-out until the causal relationship between the development of clots and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was sufficiently interrogated.