Healthcare workers scramble for Covid-19 vaccines

Healthcare workers receiving the first batch of Johnson & Johnson vaccines. Picture: Michel Bega

Logistical issues have arise at some vaccinations centres, with healthcare workers queuing for hours waiting to be vaccinated.

The possibility that more vaccination centres will have to be opened has arisen as several nurses and doctors scramble to get their Johnson & Johnson jabs to protect themselves against Covid-19.

This comes after chaos unfolded at several vaccination centres across the country, causing a logistical nightmare.

Ministerial Advisory Committee member, Professor Jeffrey Mphahlele, said: “It’s a very important week for the country as matters stand now it does look like we are going to need more vaccine centres.

“Everyone would like to get the vaccine and if you can’t allow people to access centres it causes huge frustration.”

News24 visited the Groote Schuur vaccination centre where healthcare workers were queuing. Some said they queued for hours.

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Dr Dane Maimin at Groote Schuur hospital said there was a logistical issue: “There was no system in place but I think that has settled down. I believe it’s very important that doctors who work with Covid-19 patients get prioritised for the vaccine,” he said.

Private healthcare workers in the province who have been identified for the first round of vaccinations were scheduled to get the jab on Saturday and Sunday.

So far, 15,388 healthcare workers have been vaccinated since the arrival of 80,000 Johnson & Johnson doses last week.

The doses were distributed to more than 30 vaccination sites across the country.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been proven to be 57% effective against the 501Y.V2 strain and can prevent death and hospitalisation.

Dr Christopher Osunkwe said: “It’s an important time for us as a country and an important time for health workers. We have seen people’s lives being lost because of this virus and this vaccine is our silver lining. So we can have a sense of a normal life and get the economy going.”

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The provincial Department of Health received 13,160 vaccines as part of the first batch of deliveries and have already administered almost 3,000 vaccines.

Department spokesperson, Mark van der Heever, told News24: “This vaccination programme is the biggest yet in the province and country.

“The department continues to monitor the rollout process and has been addressing teething issues as they are identified, which is part of such a mass vaccination drive.

“We remind healthcare workers who wish to take up vaccination to register on the electronic system. Once registered, they will be issued with a vaccination site and date to go for the vaccination.”

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