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Almost 2 000 Western Cape health workers training to give Covid jab

The Western Cape’s plan to train healthcare workers to give the Covid-19 injection has started. 

Western Cape Premier Alan Winde said on Tuesday that the training of 1 995 vaccinators will equip them with “adequate knowledge and skills to ensure safe and efficient Covid-19 vaccine administration”. 

The province has reached the peak of its second wave and shows positive signs of recovery. 

The training follows the arrival on Monday of the country’s first shipment of one million AstraZeneca vaccines. 

Describing it as a “massive undertaking” Winde said the vaccinators “will be part of a historic vaccine initiative when they vaccinate their fellow healthcare workers”.

The training will take place online and “is topped up with weekly update sessions, which the National Department of Health accredits. Once complete, the healthcare worker will be accredited and their name will be added to the central vaccinator register to administer the vaccine,” said Winde.

He added that the number of healthcare workers trained will systematically increase.

Phase 1 of the vaccine rollout plan is to see trained nurses vaccinate between 40 and 50 healthcare workers daily. 

“The first phase of the rollout will be the most simple. It will be conducted at identified metro, public and private healthcare facilities, and requires about 414 healthcare workers. With each healthcare worker administering between 40 and 50 vaccines daily, we could complete phase 1 within a week,” Winde said.

It is not yet clear when the Western Cape will start its first phase of the rollout plan, and the country is waiting for more vaccine shipments for the general public. 

In his message to the residents of the Western Cape, Winde said the province has experienced a significant decline in the number of active Covid-19 cases and deaths in the past seven days. Less than a month ago the province had 44 303 active cases, and on February 2 there were 11 570. There has also been a lower positivity rate, declining from 50.1% at the height of the second wave to 13.9% at the end of January.

Admissions to hospitals have dropped by 42%. On Wednesday, 2 330 people were in hospital (447 of them in intensive and high care) compared with 3 528 on 13 January. The number of deaths is also showing a downward curve of 31% over the past seven days.

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Eunice Stoltz
Eunice Stoltz is a junior daily news reporter at the Mail & Guardian. She was previously a freelance journalist and a broadcaster at Maroela Media and Smile90.4FM.

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