Minister Mchunu at the Sir Henry Elliot Hospital in the Eastern Cape: COVID-19 Vaccination Roll-out Programme
The Minister for the Public Service and Administration, Mr Senzo Mchunu, visited the Sir Henry Elliot Hospital in Mthata, following upon the decision by the Inter-Ministerial Committee for provincial site visits to be conducted as part of the vaccination roll-out programme.
The purpose of the visit was to monitor the vaccine roll-out programme and to determine the state of readiness for mass roll-out. As part of the national phased-in plan, healthcare and related workers are to be vaccinated in phase 1, followed by essential workers.
In respect of the Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital and the O.R Tambo District Municipality, the targeted number of healthcare and related workers is 14 102; the administration of the vaccine commenced on the 17th of February 2021 and to date, over 3 000 healthcare and related workers have been vaccinated.
The hospital management team, led by Dr Mdledle, the CEO of the Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital, presented on the progress of the vaccine roll-out, mentioning the challenges they had encountered during this initial phase, the disruption of water and insufficient supply of water being amongst those.
Owing to capacity constraints, the storage and administration of the vaccine are currently being facilitated at the Sir Henry Elliot Hospital.
During the walk-about of the storage facility run by the Nelson Mandela Academic Clinical Research Unit under the direction of Dr Pamela Mda, the Minister noted the storage conditions and was advised of the capacity.
The storage facility is said to be able to take about 15 000 units, with ideal storage conditions at 20 degrees Celsius for long term storage and at 2-8 degrees Celsius for stock to be used within 1 month.
The walkabout was concluded with the Minister being led to witness the actual inoculations, affording the Minister an opportunity to engage with the frontline workers. In summarising his engagements, the Minister commended the Research Unit for their professional service and further appreciated the hospital staff for their dedication and service: “What I have witnessed today is a professional public service; the very one which we are striving towards. The professionalism displayed in the execution of duties is commendable! To the healthcare workers, thank you for your bravery and thank you for being of service to the citizens of our country!”.