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Vaccine centres’ numbers drop with nurses having to wait for enough people to open a vial

There seems to be a decline in people 60 and older going in for Covid-19 jabs. SUPPLIED

There seems to be a decline in people 60 and older going in for Covid-19 jabs. SUPPLIED

Published Jun 30, 2021


Shanice Naidoo

[email protected]

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Cape Town - PEOPLE who are 60 and older are being called in earlier as numbers have died down at vaccine centres in the Western Cape.

An anonymous source who administers vaccines told the Weekend Argus that at the beginning of the roll-out there was an overflow of people at the centres but it has slowed and they have had to resort to calling those who are registered to come in earlier.

“When we get one person we have to wait for at least six people before opening the vial to make sure we use it up,” said the source.

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Western Cape Health Department spokesperson Mark van der Heever said vaccines are managed on-site. “The staff will know how many people there are at any given time and will then only open the number of vials required to cater for the number of people coming for vaccinations,” said Van der Heever.

When asked how common it was for vaccines to be left over on the day, he said it is very uncommon as staff have undergone extensive training to ensure minimal wastage.

“But it may happen that one vial needs to be opened when five people are required to get the vaccine which means one dose cannot be used (as one vial contains six doses).

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“Our local teams monitor the situation and if they pick up that there are a few people and they have doses left, they will contact those who are scheduled for the next day to come,” added Van der Heever.

As of 30 June 2021, 32 502 people have been vaccinated across old-age homes in the province as part of phase 2 of the Covid-19 vaccination roll-out plan. This includes residents and support staff.

MEC for Social Development Sharna Fernandez said in a statement: “We are seeing a reduction in the uptake of vaccines by persons who are 60 years and older. In this regard, we wish to encourage all persons who are 60 years of age or older, to register on the Electronic Vaccination Data System (EVDS).”

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The Western Cape Department of Health has started an initiative which is pop-up registration stations within communities supported by door-to-door registration drives.

They have partnered with stakeholders where communities require more information, and awareness sessions are hosted before the registration process.

This week, the team from the southern and western substructure hosted a pop-up registration drive at the Fairview Primary School.

According to the Department’s Provincial Vaccine Dashboard, by Tuesday, June 29, 56% of the 11 029 residents over the age of 60 in Grassy Park have registered to receive the vaccine. These areas include Parkwood, Lotus River, Pelican Park and Pelican Heights.