Workplace vaccination sites coming online

The private-sector will help to get “jabs into arms quicker”.

With the expected third wave of Covid-19 infections currently being experienced in a number of provinces, the recent change to increased restrictions on lockdown level 2 and imminent delivery of more vaccines, the country is preparing to increase its vaccination programme with the assistance of the private sector.

Some of South Africa’s largest employers are now looking to open an initial 89 workplace sites which are capable of vaccinating as many as 24,300 people a day, according to information provided at a Business for South Africa (B4SA) briefing by the deputy director-general of the health department Dr Nicholas Crisp.

The group said that around 110 private and 210 public sites planned to be online this week and about 348,000 people have received their first shot.

The mining industry, one of the biggest employers in the country, has 44 workplace sites planned, capable of vaccinating 17,580 people daily.

Other sectors included in the initial sites include agriculture and the industrial sector. Additional sectors are expected to come online following approval from the health department.

B4SA steering committee chairperson Martin Kingston said that the mass vaccination programme had started, but there were still several issues to resolve in order to scale up. These included getting more people to register for vaccines, getting more vaccination sites onboarded to get more “jabs in arms quicker”, ensuring that the electronic vaccination data system (EVDS) works efficiently and accurately, communicating walk-in policy and funding mechanisms and vaccine supply constraints.

He added that 110 private sites and 210 public sites are planned to be online this week.

The National Department of Health is responsible for the process of selecting sites and a service level agreement will outline the reimbursement mechanism to either cover the full cost of vaccination of employees or the administration fee or vaccine costs for employees.

Sites will need to indicate whether they will be vaccinating employees, families or their communities as well.

The department will prioritise and expedite applications from sites that can handle Pfizer 1,100 dose pack sizes and have the potential for high throughput, according to Kingston.

It is envisioned that it will take between 10 to 14 days to operationalise a workplace vaccination site, from registration to permit issuance.