More than 163,000 KZN health workers eligible for Covid-19 vaccine, says premier Sihle Zikalala

02 February 2021 - 14:51
By suthentira govender AND Suthentira Govender
Health workers and support staff in direct contact with Covid-19 patients will be the first recipients of vaccines in KwaZulu-Natal. Stock photo.
Image: DADO RUVIC/REUTERS Health workers and support staff in direct contact with Covid-19 patients will be the first recipients of vaccines in KwaZulu-Natal. Stock photo.

KwaZulu-Natal is set to receive its first Covid-19 vaccines on February 14 for a massive rollout programme in which 163,256 health personnel will be eligible for inoculation.

On Tuesday, premier Sihle Zikalala said the focus will be on the management, distribution and dispensing of the vaccine.

“Key to the success of this plan is co-operation between the public and private sector, as well as non-governmental, community and faith-based organisations,” he said.

“The province has established a vaccine co-ordinating committee which includes private hospitals, traditional leaders, eThekwini municipality, the Health Systems Trust, organised labour, NGOs, the academic sector, National Health Laboratory Service, civil society and the SA Military Health Services, among others.”

Zikalala said all districts across the province had finalised their vaccination distribution plans.

“The provincial command council will support, monitor and provide oversight for the vaccination process, especially the rollout.

“All district command councils, led by MECs and mayors, will spend time in districts for the duration of the rollout and ensure daily accountability and hands-on support.

“We have phases in which to roll out the vaccines.”

Phase 1 will see health workers and support staff in direct contact with Covid-19 patients receiving the vaccine.

“Phase 2 will be those who are not in direct contact with patients - these are administrative and other staff,” said Zikalala.

Among KwaZulu-Natal’s first beneficiaries are:

  • public sector health-care staff: 67,644;
  • medical doctors, dentists, pharmacists, emergency medical services: 9,292;
  • interns: 390;
  • nurses: 34,279;
  • non-occupational specific dispensation staff: 20,417;
  • allied health professionals: 2,639;
  • engineers/artisans: 366;
  • staff providing social services: 256;
  • privately contracted staff working in public sector: 14,625;
  • traditional healers: 5,939;
  • military health-care staff: 350; and
  • NGO sector staff: 6,699.

“The vaccine will arrive in KwaZulu-Natal around February 14. Staff in direct contact with patients will be prioritised.

“To date, the province has identified 91 vaccination sites, which will include all the public hospitals and community health centres (CHCs). These hospitals and CHCs will be responsible for the clinics  and other sites that are part of the value chain in their catchment areas.”

Zikalala said every vaccinated person will be observed for a while before being discharged after being vaccinated. 

Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu said there was no procurement process for the vaccines.

“There was only one process and that was conducted by the national health department. Beyond that, none are going to be engaging in other processes,” she said.

“The national health department engaged with pharmaceutical companies in terms of procuring of the vaccines. National then made sure there would be distribution to centres, provinces and districts. There is no tender that is going to cause issues. 

“As soon as the vaccines conclude their quarantine days, they will be distributed directly to the provinces.

“Other provinces decided to centralise the issue of the vaccines, but we decided to separate it into two processes.

“There will be vaccines held at our provincial depot in eThekwini, but every district will have its own centre where vaccines will be directly delivered. These are centres where we always receive medication and vaccines.”