The Western Cape has forensically detailed its strategy to deliver the vaccine – straying from the centralised approach set out by the government. Provincial officials have explained how the rollout of these jabs will unfold over the course of 2021, and Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo revealed that the department was prepared to take some bold steps.
Will the Western Cape buy its own vaccine?
During a briefing with Parliament’s health portfolio committee, Mbombo revealed that Premier Alan Winde has been talking with vaccine suppliers in order to secure a potential ‘extra need for additional shots’. The Western Cape Government is of the view that they must expand beyond the priorities set out by Zweli Mkhize and the ANC.
“The Premier, in his capacity as provincial commander of the council for COVID-19, has been engaging with suppliers and various other stakeholders with regard to the issue of vaccines We know for sure there will be a time where there might be an extra need to expand beyond some of the priorities the nation has provided for – and therefore, it is crucial we do that.”
Vaccine rollout strategy for the Western Cape
This would certainly represent a breakaway from the established ‘vaccine norms’ South Africa has come to expect. Cabinet has stressed that South Africa, in its entirety, will sing from the same hymn sheet when it comes to immunisation. Mbombo’s admission on Wednesday is a clear indication that the Western Cape will take matters into its own hands.
While rolling out the vaccine strategy, Winde explained how these inoculations would be distributed:
Phase 1: Health care workers – 100 000 workers in the public and private sector, including community health care workers, care workers, and health science students, will be vaccinated first.
Phase 2: Essential workers – those in congregate settings (such as care homes), those over 60 years old, and those over 18 with co-morbidities will then be next in line.
Phase 3: General population – This will include anyone over 18. The vaccine has not been tested for safety in pregnant women and in children, and will not be administered to these groups.
Winde outlines ‘vaccination register’
Premier Winde also confirmed that the province intends to create a vaccination register – similar to the way a voter’s roll works – in order to log every citizen that requires the COVID-19 jab. Consent forms, registered appointments, and proof of vaccination paperwork will all form part of the registry:
“We will be putting in place data systems to track the progress of the rollout and vaccine coverage at an individual and community level. We want to create a vaccination register, which will be similar to a voter’s roll and list those who require vaccinating. In this regard, we have started consultations with the IEC to share information about the systems they use.”
“Those on the register will receive an appointment time and date, where they sign a consent form, receive their first dose, and an appointment date for their second dose. They will also be issued with proof of vaccination. On the appropriate date, the person will receive their second dose. We have already started the work to put the correct systems in place.”