Minister of Health Zweli Mkhize briefs media on Covid-19 epidemic at OR Tambo building, Pretoria [Photo: DIRCO]

THE Department of Health has announced that over 100 000 healthcare workers in South Africa have been vaccinated, saying government is encouraged by the developments as it pushes to teach its target of vaccinating 1.5 million people by the end of March, under the Sisonke Protocol.

“We are very encouraged to have reached a milestone of over 100 000 healthcare workers vaccinated,” said Health Minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize.

Health department spokesperson Popo Maja said South Africa is rapidly and successfully rolling out delivery of the early access Johnson & Johnson vaccine to healthcare workers through the Sisonke Study.

“Within just over two weeks, from a standing start 100,180 patient-facing healthcare workers in the public and private sector have been vaccinated against COVID19. The Sisonke Study is outperforming original targets for number of vaccines delivered in its first week and is set to continue this momentum in its third week as more sites come online,” said Maja.

“In just over two weeks, the Sisonke Study has set up 42 vaccination sites from scratch, developed and implemented complex logistics (including cold chain management, distribution of vaccines, vial filling), trained additional vaccinators, set up an online electronic registration system and ensured the safe and timely vaccination of healthcare workers.”

The department said the rapid protection of patient facing healthcare workers is an urgent priority for the health system and for the nation.

Professor Glenda Gray added: “We have more than 100,000 reasons to celebrate today. It’s fitting that exactly one year since the first COVID19 case was recorded in South Africa, the Sisonke Study has successfully vaccinated more than 100,000 healthcare workers. This happened because of our trusted partnerships and especially because of the healthcare workers who have worked tirelessly through this pandemic. Sisonke demonstrates true togetherness – for healthcare workers by healthcare workers.”

The country has meanwhile recorded 1 313, bringing the total number of cases to 1 518 979. The country has also recorded 104 new COVID-19 related fatalities, pushing the death toll to 50 566.

Most of the new deaths were recorded in the Free State.

In a statement, Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said: “Regrettably, 104 more COVID-19 related deaths have been reported. Eastern Cape 4, Free State 29, Gauteng 16, KwaZulu-Natal 8, Limpopo 12, Mpumalanga 3, North West 0, Northern Cape 15, and Western Cape 17 which brings the total to 50 566 deaths.”

Recoveries now stand at 1 437 050, representing a recovery rate of 94,6%.

(SOURCE: INSIDE POLITICS)

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