• The Western Cape government has announced that it will be upscaling its vaccination programme by adding new centres on Monday. 
  • Between 17 and 20 May, the Western Cape health department vaccinated 6 646 eligible people including those at old age homes.
  • The department said it deliberately started with only eight vaccination sites on day one (17 May) to test the system.

The Western Cape government has announced that it will be bumping up the number of vaccination centres from 26 to 53 on Monday.
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The announcement was made by Premier Alan Winde in a statement on Saturday.
Winde said more vaccination sites were in the pipeline. 
Winde said this was part of his government’s scale-up approach where they would bring more sites online regularly, “as we significantly increase the number of vaccinations administered daily”. 
He revealed that the Western Cape health department would bring online 23 additional public vaccination sites, bringing the total number of public vaccination sites to 42. 
The private sector would have 11 sites operational as of Monday, with Mediclinic bringing online four additional sites as of 24 May, added Winde. 
“We will also continue with outreaches to old age homes in the City of Cape Town and commence with outreaches to old age homes in municipalities outside of the metro. I am also happy to confirm that that the first six public vaccination sites in rural districts will open on Monday, with many more coming online as we scale up,” Winde said. 
This week the Western Cape health department concluded the first week of the Phase 2 vaccination programme for over 60-year-olds, which also included Phase 1b for healthcare workers.  
READ | Covid-19: Elderly turned away from vaccine sites in Eastern Cape as stock runs out
The department said it deliberately started with only eight vaccination sites on day one (17 May) to test the system and identify teething problems – it said during this week, it also scaled up its vaccination sites to 19 in addition to seven private sites at Clicks stores, bringing the combined vaccination sites to 26 during the first week.  
Between 17 and 20 May, the department said it vaccinated 6 646 eligible people including those at old age homes, of which 5 918 were persons over the age of 60 and the rest were healthcare workers.  
The department said the biggest challenge was scheduling people to receive their vaccine which was done centrally via the national Department of Health’s system. 
It said that this resulted in:  
• Many residents, and healthcare workers who had registered not receiving their second SMS notifying them of their vaccination date, time and venue;  
• Too many people scheduled for a particular day at a particular site; 
• Some residents allocated a vaccination site which was too far and missed their appointments; and
• Late notification of their appointment date.
“We understand that there is a delay in residents receiving their SMSes and some have only been receiving their SMS the day before vaccine is scheduled to take place.”
To rectify this, the department said it had been given control over the scheduling of SMSes, which would now allow local teams to control the distribution of SMSes in the province. 
“Our teams will now be working on aligning the registrations with the scheduling and aim to provide a three-day lead time, going forward, so that residents have enough time to get to their vaccination site. We will also make sure that sites are selected close to where the person resides.”
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