“We are not satisfied that our healthcare workers are not all vaccinated. We are not happy at all. Remember from the first roll out, it was not well coordinated, that’s why even the suspension of the [Johnson and Johnson vaccine] affected us more as we were moving at a snail’s pace,” said Denosa Chairperson Lesiba Monyaki.
“However I like to believe that we have learnt from our mistakes. This time around we must move at a rapid speed so that when we begin to immunise the community at large, it should be carried out by people who are also vaccinated,” he said.
Monyaki warned that the slow paced demoralised nurses and he said that he feared for the safety of Denosa members.
“Initially we complained about lack of personal protective equipment in the health facilities. Actually our members, especially our nurses, are always ready and willing to work but the employers don’t come on board. Like now with vaccine, national and international guidelines are saying front line workers must be first, but many nurses are not immunised and the pace at which we were moving in the first roll out and phase two is too slow. It makes them not willing to go to work, because they are not safe,” he said.
More staff and more vaccination sites
The chairperson advised the health department to open more vaccination sites and to capacitate more staff to ensure the smooth roll out of phase two.
“They should authorise as many institutions as possible as vaccination centres, we don’t want to see only a few that immunise. Ideally all health facilities must be able to vaccinate. They must train as many staff as possible to carry out the work especially and immunise healthcare workers, especially those dealing with COVID-19. They must make sure all documentation and infrastructure is ready so that once they start they are not going to stop. Thirdly, they must avail enough dosages so that we don’t run short once the roll out begins like it already has happened with the elders,” he said.
During her visit at Letaba Hospital in Mopani District on 3 May, Limpopo health MEC Dr Phophi Ramathuba indicated that the department would be able to continue with the phase two of vaccination of senior citizens despite the backlog of healthcare workers. – Health-e News