B4SA commits to ensuring no one is left behind in vaccine rollout
• B4SA says the rollout demonstrates the power of partnership.
• Everyone eligible can be vaccinated at public or private sector site – free of charge.
• South Africa will soon be able to vaccinate more than the president’s target of 300,000 people a day, with up to 420,000 possible by mid-September.
Johannesburg, 23 July 2021 – With more than 230,000 people a day being vaccinated at present, the remarkable ramp-up in the vaccination rollout was directly attributable to the solid partnership business and the government have built during the course of the pandemic. That was the message from Martin Kingston, chair of the Business for South Africa (B4SA) steering committee, at a joint media briefing this morning.
“It’s an indication of what can be achieved when we all put our minds and resources together,” said Kingston, “and demonstrates what we can achieve as a country if we continue to pool our resources once this programme has reached its objectives.”
Kingston presented an update of the private sector’s contribution to the rollout thus far. Available private sector vaccination capacity was now approximately 110,000 doses per day across all types of site. Capacity could be further increased as more vaccine supply became available, he said, with the goal being for the total daily vaccination doses per day to quickly exceed the 300,000 target. By mid-September South Africa could be administering up to 420,000 jabs a day.
Kingston said that the private sector has been doing its part to single-mindedly ramp up the daily vaccination rate. He said the decision to start vaccinating at SASSA pay-out sites was just one arm of an integrated approach to vaccinate large tranches of the public, an approach that includes health sites such as hospitals, pharmacies and GPs, as well as workplace and occupational health sites, mass sites and mobile clinics.
“We are using every possible avenue to get as many jabs into as many arms, across the broadest cross-section of society,” said Kingston. “Some people will come to us; some people we are going to have to go and find. Some will be vaccinated in their workplaces – we are diversifying our tactics to ensure no one is left behind.
“The key to the success of the rollout is ensuring that we vaccinate in an equitable way –
which means providing vaccinations to all citizens, both insured and uninsured,” said Kingston. “We are pleased that government has enabled us to do this by putting the right policies in place. We also welcome today’s confirmation that we will be returning to the age-based administration of the national programme.
“This should enable about 50% of the eligible population in South Africa to receive at least a first dose vaccination within the next 10 weeks. While we will all accept walk-ins, we ask that everyone please registers and uses the EVDS to save both you and the vaccine sites time. It also allows us to better plan the ordering and delivery of vaccines,” Kingston said.
He said the unrest in KwaZulu-Natal had affected wholesalers and distributors to the extent that there were no vaccine deliveries for about a week, and the usual weekly vaccine delivery had therefore been reallocated to other provinces.
In addition, 120 pharmacies had been closed, looted or burned, which included 71 vaccination sites, representing a vaccination capacity of 10,000 doses a day. More than half of these were expected to be back online by 2 August, with pharmacies working together to continue vaccine rollout in the province.
“We also welcome the confirmation of additional vaccine supply, scheduled to arrive in the next few days. It normally takes seven to 10 days, depending on the vaccine, for new stock to migrate through to vaccination sites. While we may experience some supply constraint during the next two weeks, once the new stock is in the system, we have our sights set on administering well over 300,000 jabs per day,” said Kingston.