CAPE TOWN : South Africa is understocked when it comes to the availability of flu vaccines and as a result, healthcare professionals on the frontline of fighting the Coronavirus will get preferential access to it.
Health Minister Zweli Mkhize made the announcement in a statement released to the media on Saturday.He said that South Africa received a very limited stock of flu vaccines.
"These are pre ordered a year in advance. At the time the country (both public and private) placed its orders, we had not anticipated this COVID-19 pandemic. This means that as it stands, our flu vaccines are understocked," said Mkhize
He said government had engaged with the pharmaceutical industry and it became clear that the distribution of this vaccine has to be rationalised and prioritised.
"We have therefore taken a decision that health workers in the country will be given priority in receiving the flu vaccine. This is precipitated by the fact that the country cannot afford to have them sick especially as the flu season approaches. This is one of the major lessons that we have learnt from countries that have experienced the COVID-19 pandemic. We therefore plead for the understanding of all South Africans who may unfortunately not have access to the flu vaccine this year," said Mkhize.
Coronavirus infections in South Africa had increased by 17 cases to 1187, on Saturday.