The Gauteng province has activated four new COVID-19 vaccination sites as of Wednesday, says Health MEC, Dr Nomathemba Mokgethi.
The four new sites are based at Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital, Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital, Netcare Milpark Private Hospital and Lenmed Ahmed Kathrada Private Hospital, and are now operational.
“The more sites are added to the system, the more health workers will be reached. I am pleased to see that at all sites, there is a growing appetite among healthcare workers to participate in this early access study programme being implemented by the South African Medical Research Council as part of the Sisonke Vaccination Programme,” said the MEC.
The sites will supplement the first two sites, which are the Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital and Steve Biko Academic Hospital.
This brings to six the number of vaccination sites in the province. Mokgethi expressed her satisfaction at how well the activation of additional vaccination sites in the province has proceeded.
In this second round of inoculations, Gauteng has been allocated 18 040 doses of vaccines for both public (13 840) and private sector (4200) healthcare workers.
Half of the doses (8 520) will be used this week, while the other half (9 520) will be rolled out in the following week once delivered.
Previously, the province received 16 800 doses which were used ahead of schedule.
Deputy Minister for Health, Dr Joe Phaahla, was among those who were vaccinated at the Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital.
The Deputy Minister emphasised the importance of protecting the healthcare system first, so that healthcare workers can lead form the front in ensuring that as many people as possible are eventually vaccinated.
The MEC, together with Gauteng Premier David Makhura, visited the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital.
The hospital is the place where the first patient to present with COVID-19 in the public health sector in the country in 2020, Glynne Mitchell, expressed gratitude for the treatment she received at the facility.
She said the launch of early access vaccination at the facility was a great day for healthcare workers.
“Thank goodness I was in the best care. Dr [Jarrod] Zamperini was the doctor who treated me. He made the best choices for me, for the condition I was in.
“I’m eternally grateful for him. He put me at ease. He said I could not be in a better hospital. I’m so glad he is vaccinated today. It gives such faith and hope for all our frontline healthcare workers.”
On whether she will take the vaccine when the mass vaccination rollout starts, Mitchell said: “I will be vaccinated.”
The six Gauteng vaccination sites operate mainly during the week during working hours.
The provincial Health Department pointed out that operational hours might vary from site to site, and it is important that healthcare workers familiarise themselves with how their chosen site operates to avoid disappointments and delays.
Where a site is open during the weekend, communication will be made with the healthcare workers targeted for that site.
The department urged healthcare workers to comply with the registration process for vaccination, and to use government’s EVDS system to register on https://vaccine.enroll.health.gov.za.
In his address to the nation on Sunday, President Cyril Ramaphosa said that all provinces in the country have established vaccination sites, and more sites will be added.
He said the number of sites that will be available for vaccination will be expanded from 17 to 49.
Of the 49 sites, 32 will be at public hospitals and 17 sites in private hospitals. This includes sites in rural areas to improve access to rural healthcare workers.