by SAVIOUS KWINIKA
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – SOUTH Africa’s official opposition is seeking clarity on the rollout of a vaccine anticipated to curb the most severe outbreak of the coronavirus in the continent.
The Democratic Alliance’s (DA’s) qualms are in response to President Cyril Ramaphosa announcing the country had been returned to Lockdown Level 3 on the back of infections exceeding 1 million this past weekend.
Ramaphosa announced the move from Level One on Monday evening during a hastily-arranged address to the nation on Monday evening.
John Steenhuisen, leader of the DA, said vaccination must replace lockdown if South Africa was to survive COVID-19.
He noted Ramaphosa initially said that the country would receive the vaccine in the first quarter of 2021.
“This goalpost has now been shifted to quarter 2,” Steenhuisen said
“This indecision and dithering only proves that government has dropped the ball completely on a vaccine that should have been rolled out weeks ago.”
The opposition leader said Ramaphosa must “come clean” on the rollout of the vaccine as a matter of urgency.
“South Africa does not need a task team for this acute need in our country, we need to know which vaccine has been approved, the date of its arrival and what the plan is for a swift rollout.”
Steenhuisen also sought clarity as to which South Africans would be prioritised.
“We need to know whether regulatory bodies are dragging their feet to approve this groundbreaking medical development,” the opposition leader said.
South Africa is part of the global pooled procurement initiative co-ordinated by COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access Facility (COVAX).
Ramaphosa confirmed the country had signed off on the agreement with COVAX and the Solidarity Fund has made the initial payment of R283 million to the facility.
He said the government was also having parallel bilateral discussions with a number of vaccine manufacturers.
“We will make further announcements once firm agreements are in place,” Ramaphosa said.
He added, “We are working to secure a sufficient supply of vaccines in the shortest possible time to protect the most vulnerable in our community.”
South Africa has of Wednesday confirmed over 1,011 million cases and over 27 000 deaths from COVID-19.
– CAJ News