Picture: BioNTech
Picture: BioNTech

This is how government plans to vaccinate 316 000 people in South Africa daily

By Keagan Le Grange Time of article published Jan 19, 2021

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South Africa begins their three-phase Covid-19 vaccination roll-out strategy, but the immense pressure caused by the ongoing pandemic, the sourcing of vaccines and the time span of the plan itself could affect how successful the strategy ultimately is.

According to the Department of Health, the government aims to provide vaccinations for a minimum 67% of the population in order to achieve herd immunity, which means the majority of the population would be immune to the virus, indirectly protecting those who are not and making the spread easier to manage and contain.

But getting to that point means the vaccination of 40 million people over the planned 12-month period with two doses each essentially works out to around 316 000 vaccinations per day.

Phase 1 of the vaccine roll out strategy will be focusing on healthcare workers – a group estimated to comprise around 1,250,000 practitioners.

The roll-out of vaccines for this phase will work according to ’’work-based vaccination programmes’’, which will take place in hospitals for their medical staff, outreach teams to provide vaccination at smaller health facilities and vaccination centres to reach healthcare workers working outside health facilities.

The Department of Health has broken down phase 2 and 3 delivery platforms as follows:

  • Need to balance the vaccine roll-out with the ongoing provision of essential services
  • Health facilities and outreach teams will shift to providing services to other target groups
  • Vaccination centres will play a larger role, so additional sites will be established.
  • Pharmacies (independent or pharmacy groups)
  • Mass vaccination centres in urban centres
  • Individuals – groups, e.g. essential workers
  • Other settings – community halls, churches, schools
  • Registration and accreditation of the non-facility sites process will be in place

Vaccinators will be required to meet and achieve targets, which will include:

  • 40 million people over 12-month period (two doses)
  • 316 000 vaccinations per day
  • Each vaccinator can vaccinate 50 people per day
  • Approximately 6,300 full-time vaccinators

Additional vaccinators could possibly be recruited from, among others:

  • Clinical associates
  • Post-community service nurses and doctors
  • Contract nurses (already part of the HPV vaccination campaign)
  • Final-year medical and nursing students
  • Other cadres (may require changes to scope of practice)
  • Other

The administration of Covid-19 vaccines will be under full surveillance at all times through the entire process, along with a system currently being developed called the electronic vaccination data system (EVDS), which will work along other implemented systems by assisting with data capturing and the tracking of vaccine administration, patient information, health establishments and safety information.

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