Sama ‘cautiously optimistic’ over phase 2 of COVID vaccine rollout

Sama has maintained the vaccine remains the best chance to return to a safer version of life.

A vaccinator preparing the COVID-19 vaccine. Picture: Abigail Javier/Eyewitness News.

JOHANNESBURG – The South African Medical Association (Sama) says it was cautiously optimistic about government's vaccine rollout which targets around 5 million of the country’s elderly.

The second phase, which will include those over the age of 60, is scheduled to start on Monday 17 May 2021.

The health department is expected to announce the full list of facilities that have been accredited as vaccination sites on Sunday evening.

READ: GP publishes list of vaccination sites under phase 1 b & phase 2 rollout

Sama has maintained the vaccine remains the best chance to return to a safer version of life.

The association made the comment on the eve of the country’s public vaccination programme, which also saw the recording of over 2,7000 new COVID-19 infections in the latest 24-hour cycle.

The new cases pushed the known caseload to more than 1.6 million.

Phase 2 of the vaccine rollout comes after the rollout to those in the health sector was marred by stalling and logistical glitches, as well as general uncertainty about the ability to achieve herd immunity.

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Sama’s Dr Angelique Coetzee said hiccups were likely to happen.

“Sama is cautiously optimistic about the rollout of the Pfizer vaccines, commencing on Monday, for the public. We will see how it goes, we do expect however that it will not be a smooth start initially and as time progresses – hopefully, the problems experienced can be sorted.”

Many eligible citizens had also not yet registered for vaccination, and Coetzee has urged people not to show up at vaccine centres without an appointment.

Those who are eligible to get the jab are encouraged to_ visit the EVDS website to register._

COVID THIRD WAVE HITS GAUTENG, REST OF SA WARNED TO REMAIN VIGILANT

Last week, Gauteng Premier David Makhura announced that the province had officially entered the third of wave of COVID-19 infections, however, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) said that South Africa, as a whole, had not.

The institute, however, said that the rapid increase in the percentage of South Africans testing positive for COVID-19 was a cause for concern.

According to a Ministerial Advisory Committee technical working group, a resurgence occurs when the seven-day moving average incidence exceeds 30% of the previous wave's peak.

At provincial level, the Free State province is currently experiencing a third wave, while five other provinces were showing sustained increases.

Additional reporting by Thando Kubheka

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