No tenders have been, or will be, awarded to distribute Covid-19 vaccines in KwaZulu-Natal.
Health MEC, Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu, said national government was in charge of speaking to pharmaceutical companies about getting and distributing vaccines.
“No tenders will be issued in KZN, no tenders are in place and none are being considered at all,” she added.
“Distribution will happen as soon as the vaccine has completed its quarantine and it will then go directly to all the provinces and districts.”
KZN’s Department of Health has chosen to send its share of the one million Astra-Zeneca vaccines, which are expected to arrive on February 14, straight to provincial hospitals and clinics.
An additional 2 000 nurses have been trained to help administer the jabs, which will be offered to 85 000 public sector workers and 49 000 private hospital staff as part of the first phase.
Some vaccines will also be kept in secure storage at the health department’s Durban depot.
Premier Sihle Zikalala said nurses and doctors working in direct contact with coronavirus patients will be the first to get the vaccine.
Every recipient will be monitored for at least 30 minutes to check for side effects and their names will be registered to keep track of the numbers of people in KZN who receive the vaccine.
Simelane-Zulu, meanwhile, confirmed President Cyril Ramaphosa’s statement that no-one, not even healthcare workers, would be forced to get a Covid-19 jab.
She urged residents, however, to come forward and do the right thing, adding that people have been getting vaccines for diseases, like measles and mumps for many years. This new vaccine was no different, she added.