Western Cape Department of Health: Ensuring improved access to vaccines
With the improvement in vaccine supply, we can ramp up the roll out of vaccines to all corners of the province. In doing so the Western Cape Department of Health is doing so while maintaining equity, fairness and accessibility of vaccines for all citizens.
Having received 191 880 Pfizer vaccines on 25 June as part of Phase 2 (to be used between 28 June and 9 July), and 26 400 Johnson & Johnson vaccines for Educators (on 22 June), the province’s combined total vaccine allocation since 17 May is 513 120.
As at Friday, 2 July to Department has utilised 72% of its allocation, vaccinating 369 501 persons, including educators. Through the Sisonke programme we also vaccinated 91 732 healthcare workers bringing the total people vaccinated in the province to 461 233.
Ensuring improved access to vaccines
To balance the previous relatively lower vaccines availability in rural areas, we have boosted our supply of vaccines to rural areas. Of the total vaccines received to date, 34.2% (175 487) have been provided to the Rural areas. This allocation will further increase in the weeks to come.
In addition to the increase in vaccine allocation to the Rurals, more public and private vaccination sites have since also been activated in the Rurals, totaling 115 public sites and 14 private sites. Most of these private sites have previously not been active, which contributed to lower levels of access to vaccines in the rural areas.
Access to the means to registration has also contributed to a low uptake in several areas. It is important that we ensure equity in both the distribution of vaccines to the districts as well as the accessibility of vaccines. It is important that both insured and uninsured citizens have a fair opportunity to gain access to vaccination.
To improve access to vaccines, the Department has started to implement the following in several areas to remove barriers to access:
- Vaccination sites have made provision for an increased number of walk-ins
- On-site registration
- Transport to vaccination sites in some areas
- Door-to-door registration drives
These arrangements may differ from sites and will be communicated locally.
With the additional mechanisms put in place to enhance registration and vaccine uptake, we encourage the citizens to make use of this support so we can reach as many people as possible.
What to expect next week (5 - 9 July)
On 2 July, we received 58 700 vaccines, which, along with the remaining vaccines from this week, will be used in the coming week. The Department will also be increasing its weekly target to 100 000 and increase the cumulative vaccine allocation to the Rural areas to 40%. The public can expect 193 active public health vaccination sites across the province.
As from Monday, 5th July, the EVDS system will allocate available appointment slots in the following order of priority:
Priority 1 - people 60 years and older requiring their 1st dose of Pfizer vaccine;
Priority 2 - people 60 years and older who are eligible for their 2nd dose of Pfizer vaccine (approximately 42 days after their 1st dose);
Priority 3 - people aged 50 -59 years requiring their 1st dose of Pfizer vaccine.
As usual, a limited numbers of walk-ins will be accommodated at the vaccination sites. The number of walk-ins depend on the available capacity and vaccine doses available at each individual site.
Keeping safe during the Third Wave
We are currently in the midst of an established Third Wave of Covid-19 infections. The best way we can protect each other is to avoid social gatherings outside our immediate home environment and protect our ‘bubble’. This is your ‘safe space’.
Thus, let’s keep this behaviour going for the next few weeks, to break the chain of transmission and flatten the curve.
We can avoid a transmission chain from setting in by protecting our air space.
- Avoid all large gatherings;
- Avoid any social gatherings where possible;
- If you need to go out to do activities such as shopping, always wear your mask and keep it short;
- If you must meet, keep it outdoors, small and short;
- When indoors, dress warmly and ensure the windows are open so your space is well ventilated with fresh air;
- If sick, stay home