Vaccine Rollout – a message from Peter Wharton-Hood, Group Chief Executive – Life Healthcare

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Peter Wharton-Hood, Life Healthcare Group Chief Executive. (Image: Supplied)
Peter Wharton-Hood, Life Healthcare Group Chief Executive. (Image: Supplied)

Life Healthcare says that while the number of COVID patients is stabilising in many regions across South Africa, a collective approach is needed towards the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine so that together, we can mobilise our communities to support the drive towards immunity and help control the spread. 

We are seeing a positive shift as COVID patients in our facilities are declining in many regions, and stabilising in major areas. And while healthcare practitioners continue to protect the citizens of this country from a pandemic that has torn families apart and put hundreds of thousands of people out of work, we are focusing on ensuring a successful rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine to our thousands of healthcare employees, doctors, allied healthcare professionals, and other key individuals, nationally.

While there are still many unknowns, the executive management have set up a Life Healthcare Vaccine Task Team, to ensure that a detailed operational plan is in place for the vaccination within our South African operations. 

As a private hospital collective, we realise the need to be ready for Phase 1 by early February 2021. To meet this deadline, the Vaccine Task Team have been hard at work internally as well as supporting government to prepare for the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out, both at the national and provincial levels.

To date, the following has been actioned:

  • Engaged extensively with the Department of Health and the Industry regarding the South African vaccine plan
  • Training employees to administer the vaccination to our frontline healthcare workers across sites nationally
  • Commenced with the development of our vaccine recipient list, master facilities list and list of vaccinators who are; or will be trained
  • Procured additional refrigeration for vaccine storage
  • Procured non-vaccine stock including swabs, gloves, syringes and needles
  • Developed additional waste management protocols and procured additional waste management stock (such as sharps containers) 

Furthermore, stringent security protocols are being put in place at facilities in which the vaccine will be stored.

Vaccination will take place in three phases, as per Government guidelines and protocol: 

  • Phase I Frontline healthcare workers
  • Phase II Essential workers
  • Persons in congregate settings
  • Persons >60
  • Persons >18 years with co-morbidities
  • Phase III Other persons >18

At Life Healthcare, we have always been guided by our purpose of making life better and our values of quality and respect for those entrusted to our care. These values continue to guide us now during this critical vaccination roll-out period as it is our shared challenge as South Africans and a community to do what we can to curb the spread of this virus. The safety and health of our patients, employees and doctors have been a top priority throughout this pandemic. In addition to our key safety measures already in place to limit the spread of infection in our facilities and community, in accordance with best practice infection prevention standards – vaccination now becomes a key component to elevate these safety measures.

Logistically, the rollout of the vaccine is going to be a complex process, but we believe that by working together, we will be able to make it a reality – starting with those in the healthcare industry who have worked tirelessly over the past 10 months.

Peter Wharton-Hood; Life Healthcare Group Chief Executive.

This post and content is sponsored, written and provided by Life Healthcare.

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