17 February 2021
Staff Reporter/ PretoriaLIVE
Pretoria – As the Department of Health gears up to roll out the first phase of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, a lot of work has been done behind the scenes to prepare.
Vaccination virtual training began across all provinces at the start of this year.
So far, thousands of clinicians have registered to be vaccinators while in the Western Cape, 888 have been trained.
Registered nurses, doctors as well as some medical and nursing students form part of the team.
After a brief hiccup, the country’s first COVID-19 vaccinations are set to start at 2 pm on Wednesday (today).
These will be distributed to 17 vaccine sites across the country.
They include the country’s biggest hospital, Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital as well as Steve Biko Academic Hospital, both in Gauteng.
The Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital in KwaZulu-Natal, the Livingstone Hospital in the Eastern Cape and the Pelonomi Hospital in the Free State are among those that have also been prepared for vaccinations.
Meanwhile in the Western Cape, the rollout will begin at Groote Schuur, Tygerberg and Khayelitsha district hospitals with 130,000 healthcare staffers who could soon be inoculated.
Frontline health workers in the immediate drainage areas of these sites will be receiving their inoculations over the next two weeks.
The provincial health department’s Juanita Arendse said different sites across provinces would be identified on a fortnightly basis.
“So, we’re expecting that in 14 days’ time, we’ll receive another tranche of vaccines; 80,000 for the country and then two weeks later, another 80,000 and I think two weeks after that will be the balance of what was a sort of 300,000 vaccine commitment.”
Just under 13,000 vials of the nation’s 80,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have been allocated to the province for distribution over a 14-day period.
Arendse said the final tally of sites for each province would be determined once the rollout program gets under way.
“In other provinces, you might have 10 or 20 vaccination sites after this Sisonke programme is concluded and we do have the vaccines, we will have over 300 vaccination sites.”
Teams of vaccinators – including nurses, doctors, medical and nursing students – each plan to administer up to 60 shots daily.
“At the moment, we are looking at a norm of about 60 (vaccinations) per vaccinator per day, and we will shift and amend that target as we see what is feasible, and what is doable.”
Johnson and Johnson vaccines touched base at the OR Tambo International Airport on Tuesday night.