Where you voted in the last election is likely to be the place you’ll receive your Covid-19 vaccination on or after 17 May if you’re 60 or older, or are an essential worker. If you don’t fall into either of those categories in age or occupation, you’ll get your chance in Phase 3 of the national Covid-19 vaccination rollout.
“There’s no jumping the queue,” said Mohamed Docrat, head of the Department of Health’s Makana Subdistrict administrative area. The Subdistrict incorporates the Makana and Ndlambe municipal areas.
Each phase of the vaccination rollout has been determined by risk and need, with the country’s estimated 1.2 million healthcare workers (HCWs) first in line to be vaccinated. In the Eastern Cape, this was done through the Sisonke Protocol. Soon the programme will be replicated at Settlers Hospital in Makhanda and more health and allied workers will be vaccinated locally.
The third and final phase will target 22.5 million members of the population over the age of 18. The original target was to vaccinate 67% of the population by the end of 2021, in order to achieve herd immunity.
Meanwhile, starting on 17 May, it’s the turn of people 60 and over, along with essential workers and people in congregate settings.
GMDirect asked Docrat how it would work here in Makhanda.
“We are looking at halls that are closest to the nearest health facility that meet the basic criteria to be a vaccination site,” Docrat said. “It’s a balance: we want enough sites, but not too many to manage.”
There need to be a waiting area, a vaccination area and an observation area where people who have been vaccinated wait for 15 minutes before going home.
The Department will use Primary Health Care Facilities (Clinics) sparingly (other than Settlers Hospital) because these need to continue with their normal programmes and services, Docrat said.
Community halls and schools are being considered.
Sites should be within a 7.5km radius of where a person lives, and for this reason, it makes sense to use the IEC venues.
“We will also use mobile vaccination clinics for Makana’s rural areas and we’ll be asking farmers to assist in getting their employees to these sites.”
Institutions that have in-house registered nurses, such as old age homes, correctional services, military base and Rhodes University, will be able to do vaccinations on site.
Here’s who you’ll find at a vaccination site:
• Queue marshalls to direct you where to wait.
• A site administrator – they will check your registration details.
• Trained vaccinators: these will include 150 Registered Nurses who have already received special training in administering and monitoring the Covid-19 vaccine; some private doctors (whose practices will be registered as vaccination sites); other health care professionals for whom vaccinations are within the scope of their practice.
• There will be roving medical officers (doctors) moving between sites and on call should they be required.
What and How
- Once you have registered on the EVDS and have been notified of your day, time and vaccination site, go there with the voucher issued to you.
- You will be screened before entering the site.
- The site administrator will validate your registration and that you are at the correct site.
- You join the queue.
- When it’s your turn, the vaccinator will ask relevant questions about your medical history.
- Once you’ve been vaccinated you’ll receive your vaccination card and an information sheet about the likely side effects.
- You’re taken to an observation area, where you remain for 15 minutes.
Jumping the queue
Is there a way to jump the queue if you don’t fall into any of the Phase 1 or Phase 2 categories?
“No,” says Docrat. We aim to have everyone vaccinated by February 2022, but the most vulnerable must come first – and age is the overriding factor.
“You must pre-register and to do so successfully you must be eligible for that phase.”
While most of the metros are getting the two-dose Pfizer vaccine, as a rural area, Makana is likely to get the J&J vaccine.
“The storage requirements for the Pfizer are very stringent, hence the J&J vaccine is most suitable for the Makana area.
In addition, it requires a follow-up dose – which is hard to manage outside of a metro. As a single-dose vaccine, the J&J is more manageable in the widely spread population that the Makana Sub-District serves.
“We are busy identifying vaccination sites, we have ordered freezers for the vaccine – Phase 2 is taking shape,” Docrat said.