The Democratic Alliance welcomes the start of vaccinations for health workers in Gauteng, but we are concerned that implementation will be slow and disruptive because only two hospitals are vaccinating for the entire province.
Gauteng has received 16 800 out of the 80 000 Johnson & Johnson vaccines that have arrived – 11 800 to Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital and 5000 to Steve Biko Hospital.
It will be very disruptive and time-consuming for health workers in different parts of the province to go to these two hospitals for vaccinations. Their own hospitals are under severe pressure and will suffer from all the staff taking time off to get the vaccine.
Furthermore, it will take more than three weeks for Chris Hani Baragwanath to administer the small supply of vaccines that they now have as they have said they will vaccinate between 400 and 600 people daily.
There are 211 403 employees in the public and private health sectors in Gauteng, so we need a lot more vaccines and vaccination sites as soon as possible.
The Gauteng Provincial Government should engage urgently with the National Health Department to expand the number of vaccination sites.
It would greatly assist if there was a true partnership with the private sector to ensure that a mass vaccine rollout can run smoothly and speedily to curb the Covid-19 epidemic in our province.
Gauteng Premier David Makhura should also be scouring the world for extra vaccine supplies as Western Cape is doing. This is perfectly legal as health is a provincial competence, and it is affordable as it will cost less than R1 billion to vaccinate 10 million people in Gauteng, which is under 1% of the provincial budget.
It is critical that every effort is made to dramatically scale up vaccination in Gauteng before an anticipated third wave of infections in early winter.