Department of Higher Education, Science and Innovation
The COVID-19 vaccination programme in the post-school education and training sector (PSET) is underway.
The higher education, science and innovation minister, Blade Nzimande, announced this in a statement on the COVID-19 vaccination roll out plan for the PSET sector.
The minister added that HIGHER HEALTH has been asked to develop a “comprehensive communication strategy that involves all stakeholders within the PSET sector so that jointly we can mitigate vaccine hesitancy and other mis-information prevalent in our communities and society at large”.
According to the minister, the vaccination programme “extends and deepens our comprehensive sectoral contribution to the national COVID response which has been developed and supported by HIGHER HEALTH since the beginning of the pandemic in South Africa”.
The minister confirmed that Pfizer vaccines will be rolled out across all institutions in the major metros that have good access to cold storage facilities.
“We will be rolling out J&J vaccines across our rural districts as this requires cold storage facilities at higher temperatures than Pfizer and other mRNA vaccines”, he said.
The vaccination of PSET staff of 35 years of age and above will get underway on 24 July 2021 and the plan is to complete it within one month.
12 additional sites across Johannesburg, Tshwane, Cape Town, Gqeberha and eThekwini will be opened from Monday, 26 July covering over 120 000 staff from universities, TVETs and CET colleges in the next 2 to 3 weeks.
The minister also pointed out that next week, HIGHER HEALTH will open an additional 40 to 50 vaccination sites with the health department, across all other districts, for staff populations between 600 and 4000 to be vaccinated.
The minister called on “all staff from the age of 35 – fulltime, part-time, contracted staff (cleaning staff and security) and post-graduate students in teaching positions that are planned for this phase to come out in numbers to be vaccinated through the PSET and the community vaccination programme”.
In another statement, the minister congratulated Biovac for having been appointed to manufacture and distribute Pfizer-Biontech COVID-19 vaccine doses within Africa.
The minister confirmed that the science and innovation department adopted a vaccine manufacturing strategy that will “first build capacity to fill and finish and then move towards actually manufacturing the active pharmaceutical ingredients and therefore to develop from scratch, our very own vaccines”.
Meanwhile, in a media briefing on South Africa’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the acting health minister, Mmamoloko Kubayi, pointed out that Gauteng has seen a significant drop in numbers with 4 988 new cases which is less than the provincial peak of 16 000 new cases per day.
The minister confirmed that during last week’s looting, approximately 47 500 vaccine doses were lost.
Other highlights include that more than 6 million people in South Africa have now been vaccinated, the current daily rate stands at more than 250 000 per day, mass vaccination sites to be set up in all metros across the country and sectoral prioritization for vaccination to be down away with and age based strategy to be used going forward.