SA needs aggressive vaccination drive to stem Covid-19 resurgence, says DA MP

Nomazima Nkosi Senior reporter
More South Africans need to be vaccinated.
More South Africans need to be vaccinated.
Image: Antonio Muchave

An aggressive vaccination drive is what is needed to combat the resurgence of the Covid-19 pandemic, DA MPL Siviwe Gwarube said on Friday.

Her comments come after health minister Joe Phaahla announced that a new Covid-19 variant had been detected in South Africa.

Soon after that, UK announced its decision to temporarily ban all flights from SA and five other countries as of 2pm on Friday due to the discovery the new variant.   

In a statement, Gwarube said the need for an aggressive vaccination drive was what was needed to combat the virus, adding that a fully vaccinated population was the best antidote.

“The performance of provinces with regards to the vaccination rollout is averaging between 30% and 40% of fully vaccinated adults. This is simply not good enough. There is still room for government departments to reach South Africans where they are by making vaccines easily available and effectively communicating to people about the benefits of vaccination.

“The Department of Health has performed poorly in terms of an effective communication strategy for vaccinations. This has often been attributed to the lack of funds for communications when we know that over R150m of public money was stolen during the Digital Vibes corruption scandal. The people of SA cannot be made to pay for the ANC’s inability to keep their hands off public money meant for services,” she said.

Gwarube said in order for the country to escape the devastating effects of a full blown forth wave, government needed to make sure that enough people were vaccinated and protected from severe disease and hospitalisation.

“Until then, we will be stuck in a continuous loop of lockdowns and job killing restrictions.

“There are millions of doses of vaccines in the country, as supply is not the issue. Therefore, much can and should still be done to rollout of the vaccine,” Gwarube said.

As previously report, government has asked Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and Pfizer to delay delivery of Covid-19 vaccines because it now has too much stock, health ministry officials said, as vaccine hesitancy slows an inoculation campaign.

Nicholas Crisp, deputy director-general of the health department, told Reuters that South Africa had 16.8-million doses in stock and said deliveries had been deferred.

“We have 158 days' stock in the country at current use,” a spokesperson for the health ministry said.

“We have deferred some deliveries.”

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