Covid-19 vaccine for Tshwane healthcare workers at Steve Biko hospital
Gauteng got 16 800 doses from the 80 000 delivered
Pretoria - Healthcare workers in the City of Tshwane received their first jabs of the Covid-19 vaccine at the Steve Biko Academic Hospital yesterday afternoon.
Among them was Dr Onicca Khobo-Mbe, who said she was relieved. She went on to encourage other healthcare workers to take the vaccine.
“I suffered the loss of my parents to the Covid-19; so the pressure has been immense on healthcare workers. I am relieved we were the first to take it and take the lead to show our people that it works.
“I think if a lot of us take it we will be helping answer some of the questions that still do not have answers before it can be rolled out to the general population.”
She said even though still dealing with her losses, she felt the need to be on the frontline to assist those grappling with the pandemic, as she had been a health worker since 1994.
“There have been general concerns that it is still a trial, but there is also an optimistic view among us here,” she added.
The vaccine delivered at the hospital is part of a consignment from Johnson & Johnson which arrived in the country on Tuesday afternoon.
It was delivered to the hospital yesterday morning, and a few hours later Premier David Makhura arrived to oversee the administration of the first jabs.
He said Gauteng got 16 800 doses from the 80 000 delivered, of which Steve Biko got 7 500 while 11 000 went to Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital.
Dr Veronica Ueckermann, who heads infectious diseases at the hospital, also received her jab, and said she was excited and relieved.
She was glad to be one of the first people to receive the vaccine. “It has been a very tough period; we are all tired. The second wave was very big and came fast, and we lost a lot of colleagues and friends.”
Makhura said: “The vaccines are a game-changer, and there is still a long way to go. The doses we got for the number of workers we have is still few, as we have 215 000 health workers we want to cover in phase 1. More doses are yet to arrive.”
He said for Gauteng, with a population of more than 15 million people, the desired target was to vaccinate around 10.4m people.
“In two weeks we will receive other vaccines. We have 11 hospitals geared for the rollout, and we also have set up around 160 sites throughout the province to facilitate this process, and over 800 vaccinators trained for the process.”
He said timelines depended on procurement plans and agreements at a national level.
Steve Biko chief executive Dr Mathabo Mathebula, who also received the jab, said she was happy as this was a sign of light at the end of the tunnel. She said the mood had been cheerful since the second wave, when it was sombre as they were losing people to the virus.
She said they were looking to vaccinate around 100 workers a day, with a target of 14 days to complete all workers.