The Gauteng Premier David Makhura warned that a third COVID-19 wave was still a possibility and the vaccine rollout programme had to be done with great urgency, especially with the winter season coming soon. The province has over 401,000 COVID-19 cases and 9,481 people died of the virus in Gauteng alone.
The vaccine rollout programme begun last week with the Johnson and Johnson jabs as part of a research programme among healthcare workers. The aim of the program is to inoculate 10.4 million people this year as part of the country’s plan to immunise at least 67% of the population. According to Makhura 5,000 healthcare workers had already received their jabs in the province.
“The vaccination plan has to be rolled out as a matter of urgency to reach massive numbers of people so we can save more lives.”
The Gauteng premier also announced his four priorities for the new financial year amid the pandemic, which include plans to boost the economy. Gauteng province – which is seen as the economic hub of the country – is deeply concerned that many municipalities deteriorated during the pandemic due to a loss of over R8.75 billion in revenue between April and July last year.
Makhura said that this year had been devastating for the residents and the state but that he believes there is hope.
“We’re beginning to see hope, we’re entering the new vaccine phase. We will bounce back.”