The Western Cape government has appointed a vaccine advisory committee to advise on matters including science and ethics throughout the vaccine roll-out process.
Premier Alan Winde said the Western Cape government had developed a strategy to ensure that vaccines are rolled out safely, efficiently and ethically when the first doses arrive in the province.
Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has indicated that the first of 1.5-million vaccines will arrive in the country by the end of the month, with more arriving by the end of February.
Winde said the Western Cape had begun work to implement systems to manage the roll-out in three phases – beginning with frontline healthcare workers, followed by other essential workers and high-risk groups, before trying to reach the wider population.
The province had estimated that there are approximately 100 000 healthcare workers in the public and private sector. Winde added that all facilities offering vaccination, as well as those individuals doing the vaccinating, would be pre-registered and accredited.
“The next step will be the creation of a vaccination register which will be similar to a voters role and list those who require vaccinating. In this regard, we have started consultations with the IEC to share information about the systems they use. Those on the register will receive an appointment time and date, where they sign a consent form, receive their first dose, and an appointment date for their second dose. They will also be issued with proof of vaccination and on the appropriate date, the person will receive their second dose,” Winde explained.
The Western Cape government will implement data systems to track the progress of the roll-out and vaccine coverage at an individual and community level.
Winde revealed that the National Department of Health had proposed a computer application system for this process and assured that if there are any national delays with this system, the Western Cape government will have its own system and mitigating processes in place.
The provincial government has also started engagements with organised labour and will also be engaging civil society, business, religious communities and other stakeholders.
The Premier urged continued infection prevention measures such as mask-wearing, social distancing and good hygiene while vaccines are being rolled out.
He added that the escalating numbers on healthcare worker infections had put additional pressure on the healthcare system and on healthcare workers.
“As at 12 January, there were 1 029 active Covid-19 infections among healthcare workers in the province. This includes 98 doctors, 442 nurses, 23 radiographers, 7 pharmacists and 459 people in other categories (admin, cleaning, catering and other categories of healthcare workers). This is why it is critical that our healthcare workers, who are on our frontline, receive the first doses of the vaccine, as we also scale up the system to provide on-site mental health and well-being support to healthcare workers,” said Winde.