Cosatu not convinced by govt’s COVID-19 vaccination plan

While millions of people are being vaccinated in countries like the US and the United Kingdom, South Africans can only expect a shot in the arm much later in the year.

FILE: Health Minister Zweli Mkhize. Picture: @DrZweliMkhize/Twitter.

CAPE TOWN - The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) on Monday said the government’s COVID-19 vaccine strategy was vague and offered too little too late.

While millions of people are being vaccinated in countries like the US and the United Kingdom, South Africans can only expect a shot in the arm much later in the year.

On Sunday evening, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said government was still in talks with various pharmaceutical companies and no deals - apart from Covax - had been signed as yet.

Cosatu said government was only telling us about a plan to cover between 3% and 10% of the population by June.

ALSO READ: Nehawu: Govt’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout plan lack details & timelines

Parliamentary coordinator Mathew Parks said that did not even include the logistics of conducting the actual vaccinations, which could take until August.

He said the government should have started the rollout strategy last year already.

He said a solid and convincing vaccine acquisition and distribution strategy should have been developed earlier and government should be starting the rollout process and not making vague commitments.

In the light of Mkhize’s briefing on Sunday, DA chief whip Natasha Mazzone has written to Speaker Thandi Modise to again request an urgent debate of national importance regarding the country’s COVID-19 vaccination-plan.

The opposition Democratic Alliance has also questioned the rollout’s lack of detail and wants Parliament to debate the matter as a matter of urgency.

ALSO READ: There's debate on whether SA can vaccinate 67% of citizens by end of 2021

DA health spokesperson Siviwe Gwarube agrees the plan has come too late and is particularly concerned that its very light on detail.

Her party will now be submitting a PAIA application to obtain the codified detailed plan to ensure the integrity of rollout process.

She said Mkhize’s address was simply too vague for the initial phase of the vaccine negotiations taking place across the globe.

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