The National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU) in the North West has accused the provincial Department of Health of not moving fast enough to get health care workers vaccinated for COVID-19.
The union warns of a looming crisis that might arise should a third wave of infections hit the country soon.
Nehawu’s North West provincial secretary, Patrick Makhafane, urgend the health department to speed up the vaccination process.
“There should be a sense of urgency because if the third wave is reported tomorrow, and we are not done with the health workers vaccination process, the pandemic will first kill the health workers. By the time it gets to society members no one will be able to help them. Because the people who must roll out the vaccination will have not received their vaccination and we will be in a serious crisis. We call it a looming crisis and we think that the department must accelerate the process of vaccination,” Makhafane said.
Provincial health department spokesperson, Tebogo Lekgethwane, scoffed at Nehawu’s claims.
“We have a total of 20539 health professionals, which is inclusive of doctors, nurses and allied [workers]. Out of this number we have a total of 17187 who have been vaccinated from the 4th of April. The dozes that we have are also key in reaching the entire province quickly. We started with two vaccination sites, which were in Rustenburg ... Job Shimanakana Tabane hospital and Klerksdorp hospital. We now have seven vaccination sites, of which one of them is a private site.
"It is important also to understand that we have a total of 42042 people that have been registered on the EGDS system and the majority of those are health professionals. There aren’t really any significant challenges. The fact that health professionals are demanding speedy vaccination is also a positive sign on the side of the department, in a sense that the department has been able to deal with the challenge of vaccine hesitancy,” said Lekgethwane.