Western Cape unveils its 'proactive' Covid-19 vaccine strategy
Cape Town – The Western Cape has unveiled what it has called its 'proactive strategy' to access Covid-19 vaccines that has been approved by South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra).
The strategy was highlighted during the weekly digital conference hosted by Western Cape Premier Alan Winde.
The premier along with Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo and head of the Health Department, Dr Keith Cloete discussed the move to lockdown level 2, as well as provide an update on the Covid-19 health response.
As of Tuesday, December 29, the Western Cape has 37 355 active Covid-19 infections with a total of 199 353 cases and 155 486 recoveries.
The Western Cape has recorded 180 additional deaths, bringing the total number of Covid-19 related deaths in the province to 6 512.
Cloete broke down the various measures that are being taken to access Sahpra approved vaccines, adding that the province was already engaged with Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize.
Other measures include:
- Technical experts will conduct a formal option appraisal of all available candidate vaccines, in terms off efficacy, safety, affordability, etc.
- The province has highlighted two groups which will be prioritised for the vaccine - healthcare workers and other essential workers; vulnerable groups – elderly and people with co-morbidities.
- Demand forecast and costing: Estimated numbers of vaccines required per prioritised category; and cost estimates and confirmation of budget.
- Thereafter, concrete steps and timelines will include Sahpra approval, then developing sourcing and distribution strategy to providing vaccines early in 2021.
Parties in the Western Cape legislature expressed their views on the news of vaccine strategy.
DA provincial Chief Whip, Mireille Wenger said: “Having twice missed the payment deadline, national government needs to act with haste and expedite a comprehensive vaccination strategy.
“Without this, we will continue to see third and fourth waves, and a losing battle to maintain lives and livelihoods.
“This is why we support the province’s proactive strategy to access vaccines approved by Sahpra, and we are further pleased to note that Premier Winde’s government has officially engaged national counterparts in this regard.”
Good party MPL Brett Herron said: “The most important thing is to ensure an integrated and coordinated programme for the distribution of the vaccine.
“We need both the national government and the provincial government to be working in alignment on the roll out of the vaccines.
“We must avoid a tug-of-war between the province and the national programme.
“South African scientists have been involved in the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine which has just been approved in the UK.
“This vaccine has been identified as most suitable for South Africa,” Herron said.
“It is urgent that both our national and provincial health departments explain how the success of this vaccine will benefit South Africans, whether it will be rolled out here and when.”
EFF provincial chairperson Melikhaya Xego said that the DA-led provincial government thinks the province is a republic, and “that they’re a law unto themselves”.
“Their plans regarding the vaccine blatantly undermine the national government.
“At a time that’s sensitive, the DA will show their disregard for the lives of South Africans living in this province.
“We don’t believe that their ’proactive’ approach is genuine,” Xego said.
“This for them is another opportunity to go left when everyone else is going right.
“Winde government’s white arrogance and white racism will cause serious problems for South Africans.
“There is no vaccine that will arrive on our shore without the national government knowing about it.”
* Additional reporting by Mwangi Githahu and Nomalanga Tshuma.