PHF criticises government’s COVID-19 vaccine procurement plans

VACCINE R 1 - PHF criticises government’s COVID-19 vaccine procurement plans

The Progressive Health Forum (PHF) has warned that the fact that the government only plans to procure a coronavirus vaccine in about a month’s time is both inexcusable and unforgivable and will have far-reaching repercussions.

In a media briefing on Sunday, Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said the government was still in talks with pharmaceutical companies and no deals had been signed yet. He said the government planned to get the vaccine by next month.

The media briefing came amid growing criticism of the government’s slow response.

The forum’s convenor Dr Aslam Dasoo says the government’s efforts are too little too late.

“He acknowledged that the government is engaging with the private sector about the acquisition strategy as well as the roll-out. You know, it’s again late, but here’s the truth, the government does not have the capacity. There is no operational plan, there’s no starting date. Obviously, everything depends on when we can get the vaccine but if we do not get a vaccine soon like many other countries have in Africa, then we are likely to face more infections as we are experiencing now. The consequence of that is a great illness, many, many deaths and our systems breaking down.”

SA to vaccinate 67% of the population

The Health Department says a minimum of 67% of the population will have to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to achieve herd immunity.  It says vaccinating the population would be done in three phases.

Healthcare workers would be vaccinated first, followed by essential workers and people over 60 and those with co-morbidities in the second phase.

In the interview below, Mkhize gives more clarity on SA’s vaccine rollout:

Miracle cure

Last week, the head of South Africa’s Ministerial Advisory Committee on coronavirus vaccine development, Professor Barry Schoub cautioned that vaccines are not an immediate miracle cure.

Schoub said it will be sometime before South Africans develop immunity to the virus: 

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