The next phase of the Sisonke Protocol vaccine rollout is expected to begin on 17th May, with elderly citizens in the country being prioritised as the National Department of Health (NDoH) works toward achieving population immunity. To date, the vaccine rollout has been slow and stagnated by an inability to bring in enough batches of vaccine, but that will hopefully change in coming weeks.
This as shipments from the likes of Pfizer, such as the one in the header image above which landed in SA earlier this week, are becoming increasingly regular.
As part of its preparation efforts, the NDoH has been accrediting sites across the country, and during his address to the National Assembly this week, President Cyril Ramaphosa provided a crucial update.
On that front, the end of April saw 3 357 accredited vaccination sites being enrolled.
“A wide range of vaccination sites has been identified. These include, among others, primary health care clinics, community pharmacies, general practitioners, public and private hospitals, and travel clinics,” noted Ramaphosa.
“Vaccinations will also be done by mobile teams at mass vaccination sites set up at conference centres and other facilities, and in some workplaces such as government departments, mines and factories,” he added.
In order to get the next phase up and running, the president reiterated the importance of the The Electronic Vaccine Data System (EVDS), which will serve as the backbone of the vaccine rollout programme.
“Every person to be vaccinated will need to register and will receive details of the date and timeslot for vaccination,” he stated.
“This will be the first time in South Africa’s history that a national vaccination programme aimed at adults will be rolled out. It is an enormous undertaking that will require the support and cooperation of all parts of society,” the president concluded.
With the NDoH failing to meet the goal of its first phase, which was originally adjusted to vaccinate 1.5 million healthcare workers by the end of April, it remains to be seen how effectively the department can continue with the rollout and reach population immunity before a third or fourth wave of infections hits.
[Image – CC BY-ND 2.0 GovernmentZA on Flickr]