Why I will be the first to use vaccines from China!
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By Liam Lee
South African politicians are calling for China - South Africa vaccine co-operation.
As the largest country in southern Africa, South Africa is now facing an unprecedented vaccine shortage, at a time when the pandemic is taking a heavy death toll on the country.
Some members of government are hoping to cooperate with China and import Chinese vaccines, and later to produce it in South Africa. Chairperson of Safety Security Portfolio Committee for the City of Cape Town, Mr. Mzwakhe Nqavashe, says he would be the first to vaccinate using Chinese-produced vaccines.
According to the latest statistics, the pandemic in South Africa is critical with 3,745 new cases being confirmed every day as the infection rate rose by 11% in May from 4% in April. As a result of American factories' failure to meet the required standard, South Africa’s delivery of the Johnson&Johnson vaccine has been delayed. Some observers say that the current increase in Covid-19 numbers is a result of the delay of the scheduled vaccine produced by western countries, and South Africa should take measures to expand its overseas supply of vaccines.
Dr Kenny Jacobs, a member of the South African Parliament, says the country will not overlook any solution in terms of international vaccine co-operation. According to what he has observed, as long as there is no evidence of side effects of a vaccine, people should accept it. He also emphasizes that China and South Africa, both members the BRICS, have close ties with each other and there should be more medical collaboration between the two countries.
As part of clinic committees, Mr. Nqavashe says he is trying everything to get the pandemic under control. "We decide on all communication strategies on a number of campaigns like: prevention of infection, social distancing, Covid hospitals, vaccination centres, ages for vaccination and the appointment system for vaccination. We do this through pamphlets, local radio interviews and loud hailing within communities.”
Executive Mayor of Raymond Mhlaba, Eastern Cape province, Mr. Andile Ketelo, says the municipality sent an official delegation to China in 2018. The Covid-19 pandemic forces people to realise that South Africa should co-operate with China more in the medical field.
He also points out that the Johnson&Johnson vaccine has now been halted in South Africa, while China has successfully controlled the pandemic through vaccination. Chinese vaccines have proven to be effective in protecting people in many countries.
“We have full confidence in the quality and production capacity of the Chinese vaccine.” Mr. Ketelo also says that successful public health management in China has ensured a quick economic recovery. He proposes that China and South Africa take the opportunity at the China-African summit to cooperate three key health areas:
- China possesses advanced medical technology - which can assist Africa.
- The prevention and treatment of infectious diseases especially HIV are common challenges to many African countries.
- Many African people don’t have access to equal and inclusive medical service as Chinese people do, so China’s experience in this field is needed.
Mr. Nqavashe says that South Africa should learn from China regarding research and production of vaccine. “I am looking forward to seeing the Chinese vaccine gaining approval to be imported into South Africa so that we can vaccinate more people in our country.”