'Now the vaccine looting begins' — Seven reactions to SA's one million vaccines announcement

08 January 2021 - 07:15
EFF's Mbuyiseni Ndlozi questioned the vaccine rollout.
EFF's Mbuyiseni Ndlozi questioned the vaccine rollout.
Image: Gallo Images/Sharon Seretlo

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.

Ndlozi also said the country's leadership needed to prioritise saving lives.

“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.”

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


X