Sama calls on govt to open more COVID-19 vaccine sites

The first week of the nationwide phase 2 vaccination campaign saw more than 100,000 people receive their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine at 177 vaccination sites.

An elderly woman receives her COVID-19 vaccine jab with the start of the second phase of South Africa's vaccine rollout on 17 May 2021. Picture: @GautengHealth/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG – The South African Medical Association (Sama) has called on the health department to open more vaccine sites and ensure that the entire system is more efficient.

Government’s second phase of the vaccine programme kicked started around the country last week.

Sama said despite some teething problems including violent service delivery protests in Bloemfontein and load-shedding, which had prevented some vaccination sites from operating fully in the first week, the rollout was relatively smooth.

Officials hope to reach 5 million senior citizens by the end of next month.

The first week of the nationwide phase 2 vaccination campaign saw more than 100,000 people receive their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine at 177 vaccination sites.

Government said more sites were expected to be opened from Monday.

READ: COVID vaccination sites in WC set to be scaled up to 53 by next week

Much of the resources have been allocated to key provinces with larger populations like Gauteng and the Western Cape.

Sama’s Angelique Coetzee raised some concerns that might hamper the vaccination process if they go unaddressed.

“The walk-ins are going to be a problem, and it seems that the walk-ins are a problem because some of these clinics ran out of vaccines. We also noticed that by the end of the week, there is a lot of clients coming on board, but it seems the numbers didn’t really increase – it’s still about more or less 40,000 people vaccinated per day.”
Despite the slow start, Coetzee commended provinces where the roll-out went well.

South Africa saw a gradual increase in coronavirus infections with more than 1.6 million infections recorded so far since the start of the pandemic.

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