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

The union said the plan announced by Health Minister Zweli Mkhize night did not set out a clear logistical roll-out for vaccination.

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JOHANNESBURG - Health workers union Nehawu has weighed in on government's ambitious plan to vaccinate 67,000 of the population against COVID-19 by December - warning the approach was scant on both detail and timelines.

The union said the plan announced by Health Minister Zweli Mkhize night did not set out a clear logistical roll-out for vaccination - with no details around how clinicians would be trained and no insight into geographic layout for immunisations - especially for the vulnerable.

READ: Mkhize: Govt aims to secure COVID-19 vaccines as early as February

Nehawu agreed with experts that South Africa should have started negotiations with vaccine manufacturers long ago - and said government was caught napping while the country faced a deadly pandemic that had killed millions of people across the world.

The union's Zola Saphetha said that due to government's delay, the country now had to deal with scarcity issues while other countries forged ahead with protecting their citizens.

“Unfortunately they did not meet our expectations because we had thought that by now we might have concluded negotiations and engagements with manufacturers and those that are responsible for the vaccine,” said Saphetha.

“Because we had an opportunity to anticipate the second wave and we should have used that period of anticipation to engage.”

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

The union called for more transparency and urged government to move with speed in its procurement processes.

It’s also demanding that government engaged both Russia and China on emergency procurement of their vaccines for healthcare workers while waiting for the Covax delivery.

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