Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)
Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

DA approaches SAHRC over ’slow’ vaccine roll-out strategy

By Zintle Mahlati Time of article published Apr 6, 2021

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Johannesburg - The DA says it will approach the South Africa Human Rights Commission to launch an investigation into government’s slow vaccine roll-out strategy.

The party’s spokesperson Siviwe Gwarube said on Tuesday that the matter had to be investigated because of government’s “tardy and criminally slow vaccine roll-out strategy”.

Gwarube said so far, the country had administered just over 269 000 Covid-19 vaccine doses.

Health-care workers have been administered the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine as part of the Sisonke implementation study. The study began in February.

Gwarube said the trial, which was meant to cover 500 000 of SA’s over 1.2 million health-care workers, has been slow.

“The trial alone is meant to cover 500 000 health-care workers but has been impossibly slow. In the last 4 days alone, not a single jab has been administered,” Gwarube said.

“The Health Minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize, continuously blames external and global factors for the throttled supply of the vaccine. However, South Africa’s acquisition was slow as we receive drips and drabs of supply; thus the roll-out is pitiful.

“For the past couple of months, South Africans have been pleaded with to be patient as misleading words such as ‘secured doses’ have been bandied about to create a false sense of productivity by the South African government,” Gwarube said.

With a threat of a possible third wave of the pandemic approaching, Gwarube said the DA had no choice but to approach the Human Rights Commission.

“We cannot continue hoping that the timeline which keeps on being adjusted for the impossible delays will be met because nothing has gone according to government’s plan to date. The process has been marred by breathtaking tardiness.

“The reality is that the progressive right to health is enshrined in the Constitution and the SAHRC is best placed – squarely so – with launching such an investigation and making binding findings,” she said.

The party has promised further legal action against the government regarding the vaccination matter.

Last month, the government admitted that the vaccination roll-out programme would be delayed and the target of vaccinating at least most of the population by the end of the year would not be met.

On Tuesday, Reuters reported that the government had signed an agreement with US-based pharmaceutical company Pfizer to procure 20 million vaccine doses.

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Political Bureau

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