Health Minster Dr. Zweli Mkhize has insisted that his vaccination plan to inoculate 40 million people in South Africa is achievable.
Mkhize explained earlier this week that he believes South Africa will need to immunise at least 67% of the population from Covid-19 in order to curb the propagation of the virus. The health ministry also announced on Thursday that it would be receiving its first million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine this month and Mhize has now prepared a statement after briefing members of Parliament’s portfolio committee on health, to explain how he will carry out the Covid-19 vaccination strategy in South Africa to reach the ambitious target of 40 million people by the end of the year.
Targeting between 67% and 70% of the population means that Mkhize’s Covid-19 vaccination rollout would require an army of 6,300 vaccinators inoculating 50 people per day for 12 months and finding staff will be the first challenge.
“[We will find staff] from clinical associates, community service doctors and nurses, contract nurses who are involved in other programmes on vaccinations, etc,” Mkize said, according to EWN.
Besides this the department will need staff in each province to ensure the integrity of the cold-chain storage of vaccines are handled properly, meaning that logistical issues like the transportation of the vaccine may be a far harder challenge than administering the vaccine itself.
Mkhize added that staff are starting to feel the effects of the traumatizing second wave of Covid-19 spreading like wildfire throughout the country.
“The level of exhaustion is quite noticeable on our staff,” he said, before explaining how he plans to carry out the Covid-19 vaccination drive in rural parts of South Africa.
“We get one hospital and it runs up the clinics and centres where health workers are so in that district, everyone is covered,” he concluded.