Pretoria – The Gauteng Health Department has denied claims by the DA that fewer citizens older than 60 have registered for the Covid-19 vaccine.
According to the DA, there were doubts about the province’s preparedness to administer Covid-19 vaccination among the elderly people before a possible third wave virus outbreak in mid-winter.
The party claimed the vaccine registration for people aged 60 and above was going at a slow pace with fewer than 200 000 of them already on the government’s electronic vaccination data system.
DA provincial health spokesperson Jack Bloom, also MPL, said: “According to the latest census figures, there are about 1.3 million people over 60 years old in Gauteng, but fewer than 200 000 (15%) have so far registered for the Covid-19 vaccine roll-out which is due to start in two weeks on May 17.”
Bloom expressed concerns about insufficient preparations for the roll-out at many of the vaccination centres run by the provincial health department and by local government clinics.
“I am even more concerned that people will die when it is possible to prevent this through proper planning and delivery,” he said.
His concerns were raised after he recently visited the Jeppestown clinic, where he saw “only a printed notice on a tree outside which informed people that they could register there for vaccinations if they were over 60”.
“I was informed that the vaccinations would not be done at the clinic but at the nearby Bertha Solomon recreation centre hall, but no preparations whatsoever had been done at this venue,” Bloom said.
At the Alexandra Community Health Centre, he said, although the situation was better there were concerns about insufficient staff “to speedily vaccinate the 22 000 eligible people in their area”. “They plan to have four vaccinators at their centre, and a similar number at two satellite centres, which probably means they can do fewer than 2 000 vaccinations a week,” he said.
Bloom suggested that the department needed to run aggressive outreach programmes to ensure that far more people were registered.
Article written by: Rapula Moatshe
Photo credit: DW