Statement by Premier Alan Winde at his weekly digicon

“The Western Cape set to reach target of 100 000 first dose Pfizer vaccinations by end of week, with scale-up linked to available supplies”

 The Western Cape Government has continued with its strategy of scaling up the number of vaccinations administered weekly and is exceeding its targets when doing so.

This week we are set to exceed our weekly target of 60 000 vaccinations comfortably, having vaccinated nearly 38 960 people in the first three days of the week so far.

This daily target of 12 000 vaccinations per day factored in the available supply of vaccines, which arrive weekly so that we ensure a responsible, fair and equitable vaccination programme.

As of 27 May, the Western Cape had received a cumulative total of 124 020 vaccines. By the close of business tomorrow, in line with our plans, we would have used in excess of 100 000 of these vaccines, or at least 80% of the stock that has been available to us to use.

The difference of what is left, together with a new tranche of vaccines that arrive in the province, totalling 72 540 Pfizer vaccines, will then provide us with the pipeline to continue to open more sites in more communities across the province in the coming weeks.  

Sadly, the Johnson & Johnson vaccines have still not been cleared to leave their plant in the Eastern Cape, and so we still do not have this pipeline of over 200 000 vaccines to increase our daily rate significantly.

Based on the projected tranche delivery, and the delay in J&J vaccines, our teams will look to scale up from 60 000 vaccines this week to around 70 000 vaccinations next week so that we have a responsible and fair programme in this province.

The good news is that the province-wide operation is gaining momentum, and we have the logistical and supply chain systems in place to scale up to 120 000 vaccinations a week when the supply enables us to do so. Our plan is to get to this ambitious target as soon as possible and not slow down again.

“This scale-up approach is a deliberate strategy, which we believe to be responsible, and important to ensure equity and fairness.”

There are other key reasons for this approach:

  • There is a limited supply of vaccines that arrive weekly, and not all of the quantities are known in advance (it may fluctuate). We must therefore plan very carefully ahead of each week, with a necessary margin put in place.
  • It enables us to test systems and ensure that they work optimally so that the process is efficient going forward.
  • It enables us to prioritise old age homes and frail care facilities, in every corner of the province. These facilities are extremely vulnerable as they are congregant settings of people at high risk.
  • It ensures that public vaccination sites can open, and stay open, in every corner of the province (and not just in the Metro), with a sustainable, weekly supply of vaccines.
  • It prevents a very disruptive and disappointing stop/start vaccination programme, where some sites must close down because there are no longer enough vaccines in the pipeline.

“The Western Cape will be opening more sites in non-Metro districts next week”

This week, in line with this approach, the Western Cape started to open public vaccination sites in our non-Metro districts. This coincided with many outreach vaccination visits to old age homes across the province. This scale-up will continue next week, with a number of additional vaccination sites planned in the province including:

  • 7 sites in the City of Cape Town
  • 19 sites in the Cape Winelands
  • 19 sites in the Overberg
  • 11 sites in the Garden Route and Central Karoo
  • 12 sites in the West Coast

*Please note these are subject to change with the sites being announced on Monday.

As more vaccines arrive, and more sites open, so will more appointments be scheduled, and therefore more SMSs be distributed to people to attend to sites closer to their homes. We again urge members of the public to wait for their second SMS. While we do our best to assist walk-ins, but we cannot guarantee that you will get vaccinated if you don’t have an appointment.

“The Western Cape is planning mega-vaccination sites”

 The Western Cape is also in advanced planning with our partners in the City of Cape Town and the private sector to open mega-sites in the Metro, which will enable us to vaccinate even larger numbers of people. These mega-sites would be in the centre of Cape Town, in the Cape Flats and the Northern Suburbs, and would open once the supply of vaccines enables the rapid increase in daily vaccinations in this way, without vaccinations in our rural areas being compromised. More information on these exciting developments will follow soon.

“Spend 6 minutes of your time helping someone over 60 to register for their vaccine”

Finally, the Western Cape is making good progress in registering residents over 60 years old, and we are now approaching 50% of all eligible residents. I however remain concerned that poorer communities have lower rates of vaccination in comparison to other communities. I again urge all those who can spend just 6 minutes of your time helping register someone over 60.  For our part, we continue to focus communication in areas where there is low registration to create awareness and improve access to the EVDS.

To watch the digicon, please visit: https://www.facebook.com/windealan/videos/1675931609268308