WC health officials use back-up batteries at COVID-19 vaccine sites

Stage 2 load shedding is currently being implemented after Eskom announced the shut down of three generating units at Kendal Power Station amongst other problems.

FILE: Snorkel masks protect healthcare personnel at Tygerberg Hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic. Image: Western Cape Government.

CAPE TOWN - Health officials in the Western Cape said they have had to make use of back-up batteries and generators to ensure COVID-19 vaccine sites continue operating despite rolling blackouts.

Stage 2 load shedding is currently being implemented after Eskom announced the shut down of three generating units at Kendal Power Station amongst other problems.

The Provincial Health Department's Head of Operations, Dr Saadiq Kariem said thanks to back-up batteries and generators, over 20 vaccination sites were able to continue immunizing residents this weekend.

"AT the moment in the Western Cape we have administered just over 3.6 million vaccines, all our sites have generators it's important that we maintain the cold chain. So people must not be concerned despite the fact that there has been load shedding we are able to maintain the cold chain and the integrity of the vaccines remain in place".

Officials have also been driving out to rural areas setting up pop-up vaccine sites to smaller communities.

Kariem said these sites are also protected by alternative power-storage.

"When we use our mobile facilities those also have refrigeration capacity that's quite important because if one does not maintain the cold chain that renders the vaccines unusable".