Mass vaccination plans move up a gear
Fridges at Stellenbosch University with the ability to reach -80°C are at the centre of planning for mass vaccinations in the Western Cape.
In KwaZulu-Natal, “orders have been placed for suitable fridges”, said health department spokesperson Ntokozo Maphisa.
The appointment of logistics companies to transport the Pfizer vaccine — which must be kept at -70°C — is imminent, according to Stavros Nicolaou, who heads the Business for SA (B4SA) health working group.
Private sector and government vaccination sites will have a theoretical capacity to administer 300,000 jabs a day though health minister Zweli Mkhize said this week the realistic target is between 250,000 and 270,000.
The announcement this week that phase 2 of SA’s vaccination rollout will begin on May 17 — five weeks from tomorrow — was accompanied by details of how the rollout will work.
In the Western Cape, cold-chain requirements for the Pfizer vaccine have been “carefully mapped out”, said head of health Keith Cloete.
The provincial government “has signed a storage agreement with Stellenbosch University, where there is sufficient space for all the incoming Pfizer vaccinations — plus additional space for when more stock arrives”.
Western Cape premier Alan Winde said recipients will not be allowed to choose between the Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer vaccines because offerings at different sites will “depend on where they can be rolled out based on logistics”.
Maphisa said 8,789 people have received training for their roles, and KwaZulu-Natal is awaiting delivery of its fridges.
Nicolaou said 24 companies had bid for contracts to deliver vials to vaccination sites, and “a lot of emphasis has been placed on [that] capability. There won’t be just one provider.”
B4SA is helping to co-ordinate the private sector’s plans to set up vaccination sites.
The 1,200 identified so far include pharmacies, GPs’ rooms, travel clinics, day clinics and private hospitals.
Vaccination sites will range from small (50 people a day) to 10 extra-large ones with the capacity to vaccinate 2,000 a day.