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Rob Ferreira Hospital and Witbank Hospital have been designated as vaccination sites to administer the newly acquired Johnson and Johnson vaccine, which arrived in the country on Tuesday.

Outlining the Mpumalanga provincial COVID-19 vaccine rollout plan to the Portfolio Committee on Health, Head of Department, Dr Savera Mohangi, said the two hospitals were chosen because of their high numbers of healthcare workers who had been exposed to COVID-19.

“The vaccination programme will have to be implemented in the two hospitals over a maximum of two weeks. A team of 42 vaccinators will rotate between the two facilities, who in turn will be overseen by researchers from Mzansi Ethical Research Centre (MERC).  Mzansi Ethical Research Centre has been nominated to oversee the vaccination process in Mpumalanga.”

Mohangi said the research team from MERC will help to maintain the cold chain and drawing up doses of the vaccine, and the vaccinators will then administer the vaccines.

Mpumalanga Health MEC, Sasekani Manzini, said a total of 6 119 community healthcare workers have been absorbed into the provincial Department of Health. Manzini said the community healthcare workers have been very helpful, especially during the pandemic.

The department has also ensured the appointment of community service doctors, who had received bursaries from the department.

Manzini said the province currently has no PPE (personal protective equipment) shortages, and they are reducing the number of isolation and quarantine as cases decrease.

The department has plans in place to ensure the safe disposal of vaccine vials to prevent the potential of reuse. The department has sufficient oxygen levels, and has a system in place to ensure prompt refills when required.

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