PICS: KZN healthcare workers get vaccinated
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DURBAN - KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala said the country’s vaccine roll-out programme marked an important step in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
Zikalala was speaking at the launch of the provincial Covid-19 vaccination programme which was held at Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital, south of Durban, yesterday.
Healthcare workers across the country have started receiving the Johnson and Johnson Covid-19 vaccine after 80 000 doses arrived in the country on Tuesday.
Zikalala said the vaccine roll-out marked an important step on the journey to defeat and eventually conquer a disease, which has caused so much devastation.
He said the roll-out of the vaccine provided renewed hope that the province, and the country, would soon defeat the disease and be able to start anew.
According to Zikalala, Inkosi Albert Luthuli Hospital received 5 760 doses, while Prince Mshiyeni Hospital would receive 5 040 doses.
Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital has 10 vaccination sites, while Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital has 15.
Zikalala said that staff from these hospitals would be vaccinated first, followed by staff in their catchment facilities.
He said that the importance of starting with the healthcare workers was because they were three or four times more likely than the general population to develop Covid-19.
He added that to date, 15 400 KZN healthcare workers had developed Covid-19, with 323 deaths.
“In fact, if it were up to us, we would be administering it to all our health and allied workers, support staff, and to the general public no later than from today onwards,” he said.
He further said the Provincial Command Council would be supporting, monitoring and performing oversight over the vaccine roll-out process.
Zikalala said all District Command Councils, led by MECs and Mayors would spend time in districts for the duration of the roll-out and ensure daily accountability and hands-on support.
“We are aware that a lot of things have been said about vaccines, some of which may discourage our healthcare workers and the general public from taking it.
“We wish to plead with all South Africans to have faith in the vaccine, and to know that the Government of our country would never subject you to a vaccine that may be detrimental to your health,” added Zikalala.
One of the healthcare workers who also got the jab, Nondumiso Gamede, said healthcare workers had faced a difficult time since the start of the pandemic.
After taking the vaccine yesterday, Gamede said she was very excited.
“It has been very hard as I have been working in the Covid-19 ward since March last year. Even though we got the vaccine now, that doesn’t mean that we must stop following the safety measures. We must continue with social distancing and the wearing of masks,” said Gamede.