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EFF warns of 'incompetence' in phase 2 of the vaccine rollout

The EFF has concerns about phase 2 of the Covid-19 vaccine rollout. File photo.
The EFF has concerns about phase 2 of the Covid-19 vaccine rollout. File photo.
Image: Alaister Russell/Sunday Times

The EFF is the latest political party to express concerns about alleged incompetence in phase 2 of the Covid-19 vaccine rollout. 

Phase 2 kicked off on Monday with the government administering the two-shot Pfizer vaccines at 87 sites across the country. Eighty-three of these are in the public sector and four in the private sector.

Phase 2 will see the elderly and people with comorbidities receiving their jabs. This phase of the programme is set to continue until October 17. 

To date 519,139 vaccines have been administered. 

On Tuesday, the EFF said it had serious doubts about the impact phase 2 will have, saying their concern stems from the government's failed vaccination attempts to date. 

“Phase 1 was initially meant to see 1.2 million healthcare workers vaccinated. It is now common cause that less than 600,00 healthcare workers have been vaccinated,” said the EFF.

“This is one of many deadly mishaps in the manner the department has handled the Covid-19 pandemic. These mistakes are deadly because they lead to the deaths of many.”

Only 480,000 of the 1.18 million healthcare workers had been vaccinated since February.

The party is still concerned about the manner in which many elderly people are expected to register for vaccination. 

It said failure to ensure that all information relating to registration and vaccination procedures was communicated properly to the public would lead to vaccine hesitancy.

“We call on the minister of health Zweli Mkhize to, with immediate effect, ensure that the personnel of community healthcare workers are absorbed and dispatched to all townships, rural and informal settlement areas for a door-to-door programme to ensure that each house consisting of a pensioner is registered for the vaccine urgently,” said the EFF. 

The party further called on Mkhize to fast-track the acquisition of more vaccines, to vaccinate the 67% of the population needed to attain “herd” immunity to the virus.

The DA also expressed its concerns, saying the vaccination programme was off to “a slow and shambolic start”.

DA leader John Steenhuisen said four vaccination sites in the private sector were not enough. 

“Only four private sector sites will be operational today. This is astonishing when one considers the thousands of GPs and pharmacies across the country, and the enormous potential of the private sector to deliver jabs to arms. It is inexplicable why so few permits have been issued to private sector entities to approve them as vaccination sites,” he said. 

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