'Now the vaccine looting begins' — Seven reactions to SA's one million vaccines announcement
EFF MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi was one of many who reacted to the news that SA will be receiving a million doses of Covid-19 vaccine this month and 500,000 doses in February from the Serum Institute of India (SII).
On Thursday, while addressing the portfolio committee on health on the country's Covid-19 vaccine programme, health minister Zweli Mkhize announced that the first delivery of vaccines will be for front-line workers.
“Today, I am pleased to announce that the SII has given us permission to make a public announcement and start engaging with all relevant stakeholders in preparation for the rollout,” said Mkhize.
“In our presentation, we also stated that as a country, we have an estimated 1.25 million health care workers both from public and private to be prioritised. It is for this reason that today we announce that SA will be receiving one million doses in January and 500,000 doses in February from the SII.”
Mkhize said his department and the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) were fine-tuning and aligning all the regulations processes to ensure that there are no unnecessary delays or regulatory impediments to activate the rollout.
“We are happy that the SII/Astra Zeneca vaccine has already been approved by various regulators and is being rolled out in other countries. Therefore, as part of expediting the regulatory process, SAHPRA is applying reliance on that regulatory work,” he said.
“AND NOW THE VACCINE LOOTING BEGINS”
Reacting to the news, Ndlozi questioned the details of the rollout, adding: “And now the vaccine looting begins”.
“What date in January? Are these doses for private or public health workers? How much per dose? Does it come with needles and syringes? If not, how much has been budgeted for these? Are they locally manufactured?” he asked.
And now the Vaccine Looting begins. First 1mil doses arrive in January— Mbuyiseni Ndlozi (@MbuyiseniNdlozi) January 7, 2021
What date in January? Are these doses for Private or Public health workers? How much per dose? Does it come with needles & syringe? If not, how much has been budgeted for these? Are they locally manufactured? https://t.co/IkNHeOG6yn
Ndlozi also said the country's leadership needed to prioritise saving lives.
We should be focusing on PATENT WAIVER. Why are patents on vaccines meant to save lives during a pandemic protected?— Mbuyiseni Ndlozi (@MbuyiseniNdlozi) January 7, 2021
Responsible leadership should undermine attempts to profit out of pandemics! Not undermine efforts to save lives through reliance on baseless conspiracies!
And No one, No one mush force Anyone, anywhere to take any vaccine. This is a principle! It is a crime against humanity to force anyone to take a vaccine.— Mbuyiseni Ndlozi (@MbuyiseniNdlozi) January 7, 2021
We must guard against use of travel regulations to force people to take vaccines!
“We cannot be complacent or sluggish”
DA spokesperson Siviwe Gwarube welcomed the announcement, saying it needs to get to our front-line workers as soon as possible and all logistical arrangements should be in place for a smooth distribution across multiple platforms.
“It goes without saying, we need a sustainable, large-scale source of the vaccine if we are to meet the 40 million target by year-end. We cannot be complacent or sluggish,” Gwarube.
“Parliament must hold government to account against set targets. But this is a good first step for our front-line workers.”
It goes without say: we need a sustainable; large scale source of the vaccine if we are to meet the 40mil target by year end. We cannot be complacent or sluggish. @ParliamentofRSA must hold gov to account against set targets. But this is a good 1st step for our frontline workers.— Siviwe Gwarube (@Siviwe_G) January 7, 2021
On social media, many also welcomed the announcement. Here are some of the reactions:
“EXCELLENT AND WELCOME NEWS”
WHEN WILL THE POLITICIANS GET IT?
PROTECT THE VACCINE FROM CRIMINALS
“DON'T STEAL THE VACCINES FOR POLITICAL LEVERAGE”
WE ARE HAPPY, JUST DON'T FORCE IT ON US