#UnrestSA: Vaccine rollout halted in parts of KZN, Gauteng due to looting

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The Munsieville Vaccination Site in Krugersdorp.
The Munsieville Vaccination Site in Krugersdorp.
(Photo by Gallo Images/Luba Lesolle)
  • The national Department of Health has temporarily closed vaccine sites in areas affected by looting and unrest. 
  • The department advised those in areas that have been affected by the unrest to defer their vaccination.
  •  The Electronic Vaccine Data System will automatically reschedule missed appointments.

The national health department has temporarily halted vaccinations in areas where sites have been affected by the ongoing looting and unrest in the country. 

On Tuesday, the department said that the violent unrest had impacted the vaccine rollout and access to chronic medication for TB, HIV and diabetes patients in parts of KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.  

READ | Riots take their toll on KwaZulu-Natal’s healthcare services

"Government and the private sector’s priority is to protect lives and prevent harm to staff, patients and the medical supplies and property that form part of the vaccination programme. Consequently, Government and the private sector are adopting a precautionary principle and will be temporarily closing some vaccination sites which have been damaged or which may be at risk," it said. 

It advised those in areas affected by the unrest to postpone their vaccination, saying they would soon be releasing a list of those areas. 

"The Electronic Vaccine Data System (EVDS) will automatically reschedule appointments for those unable to attend; it is programmed to reschedule up to two missed appointments. If it is not clear whether an area has been affected, the public is advised to contact the vaccination site to which they have been scheduled before proceeding to the site for the administration of vaccines," the department said. 

ALSO READ | Public transport remains suspended in parts of KwaZulu-Natal, likely to affect health system

The public has also been warned not to buy medicine from anyone other than registered medical practitioners, after several pharmacies and medical centres were looted.

"Stolen or improperly dispensed medicines are extremely dangerous as they may not have been stored properly, may be contaminated, or may cause dangerous side effects. The department is working closely with other departments in the security cluster and private sector to ensure that access to healthcare services and operations at vaccination sites are restored."

Meanwhile, retail companies Dis-Chem and Clicks have closed their sites in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal. 

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