Covid-19: Western Cape government to continue with plan to procure its own vaccines

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Dr Keith Cloete, PHOTO: Samantha lee-jacobs
Dr Keith Cloete, PHOTO: Samantha lee-jacobs
  • Head of department Dr Keith Cloete said the Western Cape was sticking to its plan to procure its own vaccines. 
  • Next week details of the province's budget for the 2021/22 financial year will be announced and how funds will be used for the procurement of the vaccine is expected to be discussed. 
  • In a statement on Wednesday, the department said 19 879 vaccines had been administered. 

The Western Cape government has remained adamant that it will start the process of procuring its own vaccine, amid the province receiving 25 960 vaccines in two tranches as part of the Johnson & Johnson Sisonke implementation study.

According to the provincial health department, nearly 1 000 vaccinations had been administered per day since 17 February.

Head of department Dr Keith Cloete, told News24: "The plan has always been and remains to explore the acquisition of vaccines to supplement the national supply of vaccines."

He said they had been in talks with several vaccine manufacturers.

READ | Covid-19: Western Cape legally allowed to procure own vaccines but accused of 'politicising pandemic'

In a statement on Wednesday, the department said 19 879 vaccines had so far been administered (76.5% of allocation received) in the ongoing first round of vaccinations which focused on healthcare workers, both in the public and private sector.

There are currently eight vaccination sites across the province - Groote Schuur, Tygerberg, Khayelitsha District Hospital, Karl Bremer, Gatesville Melomed Hospital, Worcester, Paarl and George Hospital.

ALSO READ | Western Cape has already approached vaccine manufacturers, Winde says

"Since a limited number of vaccines are currently available, the department has introduced sequencing to ensure equitable access, so that the most vulnerable healthcare workers and those most at-risk-of exposure are vaccinated first. We estimate that approximately 40% of healthcare workers in the province will be vaccinated with the available vaccines. The continued rollout of phase one of the healthcare workers vaccinations should be complete by end April depending on the vaccine," the department said in a statement.

Western Cape provincial parliament chief whip Mireille Wenger said: "If we proceed on our current trajectory, we will see continued re-prioritisation of vaccine recipients. This is unacceptable, especially at such an early stage of the country's vaccine programme. We cannot find ourselves in a position where we are choosing between vaccine recipients based on their comorbidities. This fails the people of the province, it fails our doctors and nurses, and it jeopardises the lives and livelihoods of all."

Next week details of the provincial budget for the 2021/22 financial year will be announced - a key component will be how the province will allocate funds for the procurement of the vaccines.

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