Covid-19: People aged 60 and older first to be vaccinated in next phase of rollout in Western Cape

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Dr Keith Cloete is head of health in the Western Cape province.
Dr Keith Cloete is head of health in the Western Cape province.
Brenton Geach, Gallo Images
  • The Western Cape will use an age-based approach in the next phase of the Covid-19 vaccine rollout.
  • People aged 60 and older will be the first to receive vaccinations in Phase 2, which is scheduled for May.
  • The province is planning to perform 36 000 vaccinations per day across small, medium and large sites in each geographic area.

People who are 60 and older will be vaccinated first under Phase 2 of the Covid-19 vaccine rollout in the Western Cape, which is expected to start in May.

Provincial head of health, Dr Keith Cloete, said on Thursday that his steering committee was putting the last planning systems in place for a "successful and scaled-up process".

In the coming week, the "final touches" are expected to be made once the number of vaccines that will be supplied to the province is established and how soon they will be received.

He said the province had approached Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer, which have South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra) approval for the supply line.

"They are working very hard to conclude their agreement with the national department, where we will be getting our supplies from," Cloete said.

"Our next step is that we are looking at a request for information-targeted process with the view that we potentially would start to acquire additional vaccines to supplement the national supply of Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer by August."

Additional supply

The premier's office is also engaging with foreign governments and the private sector to discuss additional supply of approved vaccines.

Cloete said the province was planning to perform 36 000 vaccinations per day across small, medium and large sites in each geographic area in the Western Cape.

The "big allocations" from Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson will see people aged 60 and older vaccinated in the first band of Phase 2.

"We very much support the age-based approach as a first way to go in," Cloete said.

"If you say over 60s, it's on the identification number and birthdate of the person. That way, you're dealing with fewer parameters and indicators to actually try and put systems in place.

"When you get to the lower age groups and start introducing essential workers, we need to make sure that the system is fool proof and that the right people are there."

Later down the line, other bands will come in, he said.

"But for now, the first priority is to start with the vaccination of people [aged] 60 [and older]. We are putting systems in place so that we can reach all the 60-year-olds and make sure that we reach our target to start off Phase 2."

Cloete, during Premier Alan Winde's weekly digicon, said the province's situation was one of having "navigated and exited a second wave with a clear and consistent decline in cases, hospitalisation and deaths".

He said the provincial department would have to "significantly scale up the implementation of vaccines over the coming months as the key drive against Covid".

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