Covid-19 vaccine walk-ins allowed but not advised for 35+ age group, says Alan Winde
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Cape Town - Those in 35-49 age bracket ( 35+) can do walk-ins for the Covid-19 vaccine but need to understand that they might not always be successful, Western Cape Premier Alan Winde said on Sunday.
Winde said he was excited to see so many residents in the 35-49 age bracket registering for their Covid-19 vaccine, with nearly 300 000 registrations in just four days.
“Our Department of Health has indicated that the EVDS has already started scheduling vaccinations for this age bracket where there are gaps, and so appointment SMSs will be starting sooner than we initially planned.”
Winde said that some residents in the 35+ age-bracket have asked whether they can walk-in already too.
“The simple answer is yes, but there are some complexities which I want to better explain, so that our residents understand why it won’t always be successful at this early stage and why we would prefer you to wait for an appointment if you can.”
The Premier said: “The Western Cape is trying to manage the limited number of vaccines it has at each site in a fair manner, based on those who are most vulnerable. The best and most objective way to do this is by age. This is because older residents have a much higher chance of dying if they get infected. This is based on very sound research globally.
“We still have registered residents in the 50+ bracket who have yet to receive the first dose of the vaccine, and an even larger proportion in the 60+ bracket, who still need their second dose. But we only have a set number of doses to use each week, and at each site.
“To manage this reality, we have introduced a prioritisation system for walk-ins to ensure fairness at our public sites (private sites might operate differently). Those over 60 residents requiring a first or second dose are our top priority in the walk-in queue, as they are at highest risk of hospitalisation and death and find it the most difficult to register online. They will be assisted first.
“We will then assist those walk-ins in the 50 to 59 age bracket who need their first dose, followed by those in the next age bracket, 35 – 49.
“This means that walk-ins for the 35+ bracket is possible at our public sites, but you might have to wait longer, and we can’t guarantee that you will be helped if the vaccine allocation at the site is used up. An appointment remains the preferred route at this early stage,” Winde said.
He said the that with current supplies, the province was currently able to to administer about 150 000 vaccinations a week, but this included second doses, which must be given six weeks after the first dose.
“Six weeks ago (the week of 31 May - 4 June), the Western Cape vaccinated approximately 70 000 people, who will now also be needing a second dose. We must ensure proper planning for this, so that no one is left behind,” Winde said.
“I am confident that as vaccine supplies increase, and as more people get vaccinated in the over 50 bracket, so the pace in the 35+ bracket will increase rapidly and more walk-ins in this bracket will be helped and quicker. This will become very noticeable in the next few weeks. I am also constantly pushing for more vaccines, and opening more sites, for this very reason...
“I want to guarantee you that you will get your Covid-19 vaccine, and that you will get it soon.”
The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) said on Saturday that 5 076 330 vaccines have been administered across South Africa so far.
According to the National Department of Health the country recorded 291 deaths and 14 701 new Covid-19 cases.
The majority of new cases were recorded in Gauteng (43%), followed by Western Cape (16%).
The cumulative number of Covid-19 cases identified in SA is 2 283 880 and the death toll now stands at 66 676.
* For more information about the Western Cape vaccine process, call 0860 142 142, or visit: https://coronavirus.westerncape.gov.za/vaccine/