Government has managed to vaccinate over 10% of healthcare workers through the Sisonke programme.
South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) released a statement on Thursday, confirming that 157 286 healthcare workers have received their single-dose Covid-19 vaccine.
“There have been tremendous global efforts to find multiple vaccine candidates to protect against COVID-19 infection and subsequent development of the severe disease, this has led to the biggest vaccination campaign in history,” said the SAMRC.
There are now 47 vaccination sites, and 12 more will be added by next week to ensure the vaccine rollout runs smoothly in rural and urban areas.
The Sisonke programme gives healthcare workers early access to the vaccine deployment programme.
Although the Johnson&Johnson vaccine has been approved, it has not been licensed.
Professor Linda-Gail Bekker, Deputy Director of the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation, said the Sisonke programme will require healthcare workers to give their consent before being vaccinated.
“We have a safe and effective vaccine that is not licensed. We’re going to introduce it through this other mechanism called the Sisonke program while we wait for licensure to arrive, ” said Bekker.
“Before healthcare workers can receive the jab they will need to register and a text message will be sent to them, asking if they would like to go with Sisonke and if they say yes, they will go through a simple electronic consent process. If they agree to this, a vaccination voucher will be issued. They have to take this voucher to the vaccination site, ”she said.
“We are doing what we are going to do in the mass deployment. We want to monitor hospitalization to make sure the vaccine is having the kind of impact on the population that we would accept." said Bekker.