Gauteng Premier, David Makhura, says Gauteng residents should be ready for their turn as the province intends to rollout massive vaccination.
He made the remark while delivering his State of the Province Address on Tuesday.
“We intend to vaccinate 67% (10.4 million people) of Gauteng’s population. We call on the people of our province to get ready to vaccinate in large numbers. Vaccines save lives. As more vaccine doses arrive, we will vaccinate 215 101 healthcare workers in Phase I of the Vaccine Rollout Plan of our province.
This will be followed 7 372 924 vaccinations in Phase II focusing on essential workers and vulnerable sections of the population such as the elderly and people with co-morbidities. We will conclude with Phase III of the vaccination programmed which will focus on 2 789 427 vaccinations for the rest of the population over 18 years. More than 150 vaccination sites have been identified at primary healthcare centres and vaccinators have been trained across the province,” he explained.
The province started its vaccination programme last week, targeting healthcare workers.
Gauteng has received 16 800 doses for the vaccination of healthcare workers over the next two weeks. The Steve Biko Academic Hospital received 5 720 doses, while Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital received 11 080 doses.
To date, 5 214 healthcare workers in Gauteng have been vaccinated. “We must make it clear that coronavirus is still around and the third wave is a real possibility as we approach winter. However, we must also say that without equivocation that vaccines constitute the decisive weapon against pandemics. The vaccination plan has to be rolled out urgently and massively to save lives and enabled the economy to recover fully,” adds Makhura.
He has warned against complacency, saying that even though the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine has begun, the possibility of a third wave cannot be ruled out.
Makhura adds that the province has expanded the capacity of its public healthcare system, with 4 265 new functional beds and 4 992 posts created and filled between April 2020 and January 2021.
He says another 1 425 beds are in the final stages of being made functional and operational with additional staffing from the start of the new financial year.
“This is a significant long-term investment that will outlive the COVID-19 pandemic. What is important is to improve patient care, clinical outcomes, meet the ideal clinic standards and prepare the health care system for the NHI,” he adds.
Outlining the province’s four priorities, he said winning the battle against the virus and reigniting the economy top the list.
“Firstly, winning the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic and building resilient institutional and societal capacity to deal effectively with any future pandemics and disasters in the Gauteng City Region.
Secondly, ( it is) re-igniting the Gauteng economy to take a lead in South Africa’s economic reconstruction and recovery plan as well as Africa’s industrialisation agenda. Thirdly, recalibrating social policy to improve educational and health outcomes, fight crime and protect the most vulnerable sections of the population against urban poverty and hunger,” says Makhura.