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Free State sets up stations for COVID-19 vaccine roll-out

Staff Reporter

The Free State has set up 47 vaccination sites to kick-start the first phase of the COVID-19 vaccination programme.

Provincial health spokesperson Mondli Mvambi says 30 collection sites — where the vaccine will be stored — have also been prepared across the province.

South Africa will today receive its first consignment of one million doses of the Covishield vaccine produced under licence from AstraZeneca by the Serum Institute of India.

Another 500 000 will arrive later this month.

“The province is ready to implement the vaccine roll-out plan as soon as the drug goes through the various testing processes to check its safety for use,” said Mvambi in a statement.

This initial consignment has been reserved for health workers.

Mvambi said the collection sites, which are key to the vaccination programme, meet the storage requirements of the vaccine as specified by the manufacturer.

The two-dose vaccine should be stored at temperatures of between two to eight degrees Celsius.

“Already, all procurement processes have kicked in to ensure many items including the fridge tags which are temperature tracking systems that will ensure compliance with prescribed temperature for storage of vaccines,” he added.

At least 17 private hospitals will be designated as vaccination sites.

Mvambi said none of the private health facilities in the province will be used as collection sites because they do not meet the storage requirements.

He said the province has been working to ensure all processes are in place to roll out the COVID-19 vaccination campaign when the vaccine arrives in the country.

“It must be emphasised that the vaccine is not a cure for COVID-19 and, until pronounced otherwise, people must continue to adhere to all the established non-pharmaceutical interventions,” said Mvambi.

“It must also be emphasised that the vaccine is implemented in the best health care interests of all South Africans.”

The provincial health spokesperson appealed to people to stop peddling rumours and misinformation about the connection of the vaccine to 5G, DNA alteration and microchips.

“These are simply not true,” he said.

“The South African government has assured us that the vaccine will adhere to all medicine safety regulations and that no unregistered vaccine will be promoted by the government.”

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