The North West premier Job Mokgoro announced the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out plan in the North West province following the arrival of the first 1.5 million doses of the vaccine in South Africa on Monday.

Health workers will be among the first to get vaccinated during the phase 1 vaccination roll-out. It is expected that vaccinations in North West will start in about two weeks time. However, concerns have been expressed about the effectiveness of local medicine depots, especially in the light of previous stock shortages. Mokgoro said during the announcement that the North West province has established governance structures to oversee the success of the roll-out plan. “I can confirm that we have completed vaccination allocation and ensured readiness of the vaccination sites. The distribution plan has been completed for phase 1. Subsequently, vaccination will only be done at registered and certified vaccination sites,” he said.

For the first part of phase 1, public and private hospitals in the provinces are targeted to be vaccination sites as they have the necessary infrastructure to cater for this activity. The North West Province has identified 21 vaccination sites and these are in final stages of preparation and compliance checking of the sites is underway.

“We have ensured that vaccination sites are able to administer 500 doses per day, made of 10 doses per vial, 50 vials per box and a box must be used up on the same day it is opened as the vaccine is light sensitive,” he said. The province will target 2.7 million people (67%) in this province in order to hopefully achieve herd immunity.

The vaccination system is based on pre-vaccination registration, an appointment system for vaccination and records of all who are vaccinated. Vaccinated persons will be placed on a national register and will be provided with a vaccination card.

“A lot of work still needs to be done to dispel misconceptions and fears regarding the vaccination process,” Mokgoro said.

North West health MEC, Madoda Sambatha said no one will be forced to receive the vaccination. “It is a free choice. It will go to those that say ‘give it to me.’”

The North West Department of Health’s Bojanala district management and the Brits District Hospital’s COVID-19 Vaccination committee met last week to discuss the preparation and readiness for the first COVID-19 vaccination phase in the Madibeng area.

The target is to vaccinate 67 percent of the population by the end of 2021, in order to achieve herd immunity.

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