Private hospitals gear up as vaccination sites for healthcare workers.
With the majority of the first consignment of J&J vaccines now successfully injected into the arms of healthcare workers since the launch of the Sisonke programme, the B4SA Hospital workstream, and the Hospital Association of South Africa, welcome the expansion of vaccine rollout sites to include thirteen private hospitals.
The sites identified by the National Department of Health are listed below. Please note that the list could change in the next two weeks as more vaccine doses become available and adjustments to plans become necessary. Adjustments will be communicated timeously. As reflected in the lists below, for this week, some private hospitals’ healthcare workers will continue to receive vaccinations at public facilities.
Among the considerations employed in the selection of the private hospital sites were the numbers of COVID-19 cases treated to date, their proximity to research and other healthcare facilities within their catchment areas, and to enable as wide a geographic spread of the vaccine rollout as possible with the limited numbers of vaccine doses available.
At each site, the National Department of Health requires that facilities first vaccinate their own workers at risk and those of the selected limited hospitals identified in their catchment areas.
The National Department of Health has introduced risk stratification into the EVDS as follows:
– COVID Intensive Care/High Care/General Wards;
– Casualty Wards/ Emergency Departments/ Emergency Medical Service (paramedics, ambulance staff).
Gatekeeping will be a key measure to ensure an efficient rollout and to protect the principle of risk stratification.
After consultation with the private sector, each facility identified in the addendum will individually decide whether its risk stratified healthcare worker data is to be bulk uploaded, or whether instructions will be issued to healthcare staff who comply with the risk stratification to ensure their information on the EVDS has been correctly captured.
Healthcare workers will receive an sms that will direct them to the Sisonke website where they will be required to provide the necessary consent to receive a vaccine, whereafter an appointment will be scheduled at the identified vaccination site. Healthcare workers will be issued with a “token” or voucher.
On arrival at the scheduled vaccination destination at the scheduled appointment time, healthcare workers will be asked to produce their electronic “token”, or voucher, and to provide an identification document (including passport), and proof of health facility employment or Health Professional Statutory Council registration.
Each site will also have a pre-populated list of risk stratified healthcare workers by hospital selected to participate in this next week to ensure they match people arriving with vouchers to be vaccinated.
People who currently have vouchers for another vaccination site that were not redeemed in the past 2 weeks are asked to be patient until it can be resolved how their vaccination sites are changed on the EVDS system. Communication will be forthcoming. Please note that vouchers do not expire.
It should be noted that the National Department of Health has cautioned that the EVDS has introduced full audits capabaility that can track the credibility of inputs, and that management of the system is iterative, drawing on the resources of collaborating data experts and information platform engineers, from both the private and public sectors, to ensure vaccines reach intended targets, and so that errors are quickly resolved.
The EVDS has further deactivated the ability for people to change places of work and vaccination sites.
The private hospital sector is confident that the amendments to the system actioned by the National Department of Health will prove efficient and effective.