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Healthcare experts to unpack SA's Covid-19 vaccine rollout at symposium

Mpho Koka Journalist
Medical experts will this week exchange ideas on the best way to administer Covid-19 vaccine.
Medical experts will this week exchange ideas on the best way to administer Covid-19 vaccine.
Image: 123RF/Samsonovs

A group of healthcare experts and policymakers will on Thursday hold a discussion on how to ensure an effective vaccination rollout plan in SA as part of a series of virtual events looking at vaccine rollout strategy.

Panelists will among others discuss hurdles in the vaccine rollout, lessons learnt, solutions and matters related to distribution of the jabs in SA.

The discussion, organised by the Government Employees Medical Scheme (Gems), will focus on what healthcare is set to look like this year and beyond.

SA has been lagging behind in vaccinating its population to achieve herd immunity and as a result the country is faced with a third wave of the coronavirus pandemic that has threatened lives and livelihoods.

To date, the vaccine rollout has only been limited to frontline healthcare workers, but this is expected to move to the next phase from next week.

Healthcare experts from the SA Medical Association, National Institute of Communicable Diseases, Dischem Pharmacies, Business for SA, the Africa Centres for Disease Control & Prevention and researchers from Gems will also address the symposium.

Health minister Zweli Mkhize is also expected to attend the event where he will outline the government's strategy going forward in the vaccine rollout.

Gems chief healthcare officer Dr Vuyo Gqola said speakers will be discussing "vaccine roll-out strategy – where are we? views of the committee on the vaccine rollout; hurdles and lessons – vaccination of frontline workers; procurement of the vaccine and supply chain management – do we have enough? administering the vaccine – what we have learnt so far; the role and views from healthcare professionals and the update on the new variant".

Gqola said panelists will also review how countries such as Israel, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates have emerged as champions in the vaccination race, reaching more of their populations than most other countries globally.

They will also examine lessons that SA can learn from these countries to ensure effective rollout of the vaccination in SA.

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