By Bongani Tshabalala
BLOEMFONTEIN-The Free State department of health says it plans to resume vaccinating healthcare workers from tomorrow after the exercise was interrupted about two weeks ago following fears of blood clotting related to the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for COVID-19.
Provincial health spokesperson Mondli Mvambi told the media in a written statement that the vaccinations are expected to resume at Parys District Hospital on Wednesday as well as Bongani Regional Hospital in Welkom on Thursday.
“We are looking at covering the 10 000 outstanding numbers of our healthcare workers,” said Mvambi.
“We are mindful of the catch up that we have to do and we have earmarked the numbers. targeted for each facility,” he added.
The health department has set a target of 750 healthcare workers at Parys Hospital before the end of the month.
Bongani Hospital which is in Lejweleputswa district will vaccinate 2000. In other districts, Thabo Mofutsanyana will vaccinate 4 000 healthcare workers by early May.
Mangaung Metro will try to clear the backlog caused by the pause in vaccinations and jab 4 000 by the end of the month.
Fezile Dabi wants to 2 000 vaccinations and Xhariep 500 by mid-May.
Mvambi said the health department considers vaccination as a vital prevention instrument against COVID-19-related serious illnesses and death.
He said the department is committed to ensuring that it finalises the targeted vaccination of healthcare workers and swiftly move to vaccinating the vulnerable population aged over 60 years of age in the second phase set to start on May 17.
“The department is acutely aware that vaccinating high-risk population groups before winter will result in about 40 000 lives being saved; reduce hospitalisation by up to 50 percent; reduce the costs that will be incurred by the healthcare system in managing infections of those that will get very sick, require admission and the incalculable cost of death,” Mvambi said in a separate statement.
He urged communities to ensure that those over 60 are assisted to register for vaccination on the Electronic
Vaccination Data System on: http://vaccine.enroll.health.gov.za/
Once registered, people will be notified by SMS on where and when they should go for the vaccination.
The province has earmarked about 97 facilities in its five districts where the vaccination will take place.