‘An absolute disaster’: Prof Madhi says SA needs to do better on vaccination

Madhi said South Africa was among the top 10 to 15 countries with the highest mortality rate.

A vaccinator preparing the COVID-19 vaccine. Picture: Abigail Javier/Eyewitness News.

CAPE TOWN - Renowned vaccinologist Shabir Madhi has urged government to speed up its mass inoculation programme.

The Wits University professor was a guest in a ThinkBig webinar on Tuesday.

READ: Over 126,000 people over the age of 60 registered for COVID vaccine in SA

On Monday, Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize visited the Western Cape to assess its readiness for phase 2, which begins next month.

Madhi said South Africa was among the top 10 to 15 countries with the highest mortality rate.

However, he does not think this was avoidable.

WATCH: Madhi: SA's COVID response was decent, but vaccine rollout a disaster

He said the country had performed reasonably well in response to the pandemic and would give it a score of 6 to 7 out of 10.

“I think it was always naïve of us to think we were going to contain the spread of the virus given our socio-economic conditions.”

READ: Mkhize: SA vaccine programme a collaborative effort between govt, private sector

However, he said where the country was falling short was in the actual rollout of COVID-19 vaccines.

“That has been an absolute disaster. We are one of the few countries that are yet to start a COVID vaccination programme. What’s currently happening with health workers is not part of the general COVID-19 vaccine programmes, it’s an implementation study.”

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