Health Minister Zweli Mkhize announced the country would receive one million doses of a Covid-19 vaccine by the end of the month. File picture
Health Minister Zweli Mkhize announced the country would receive one million doses of a Covid-19 vaccine by the end of the month. File picture

Nehawu welcomes securing of vaccine

By Siviwe Feketha Time of article published Jan 7, 2021

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Nehawu has welcomed the announcement by Health Minister Zweli Mkhize that the country would receive around one million doses of Covid-19 vaccine by the end of this month.

On Thursday, Mkhize indicated that expected vaccine doses would be accompanied by a further 500 000 doses in February.

“When we held the press briefing on Sunday, January 3, 2021, we indicated that in so far as our negotiations with individual manufacturing companies were concerned, we were bound by the non-disclosure agreements and confidentiality clauses that we had agreed to,” Mkhize said.

Mkhize indicated that the vaccine doses, which have been secured from Serum Institute of India (SII), would be primarily targeting frontline health workers, who are estimated to be around 1.25-million in both the public and private healthcare sector.

“It is for this reason that today we announce that South Africa will be receiving 1 000 000 (one million) doses in January and 500 000 (five hundred thousand) doses in February from the SII.

“As recently as yesterday, our teams from the National Department of Health and the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) were fine tuning and aligning all the regulations processes to ensure that there are no unnecessary delays or regulatory impediments to activate this roll out,” he said.

Nehawu, which represents both the health and education sector, said it welcomed the move as it would protect its members and other healthcare workers against the infectious virus.

“Furthermore, we will monitor the process with hawk eyes to ensure that it runs smoothly for the benefit of our members and workers. Nehawu calls on the Department of Health to convene an urgent meeting with all trade unions organising in the healthcare sector to discuss the rollout plan and a system that will be used to distribute the vaccine to healthcare workers,” the union said.

Mkhize said the government was pleased that the SII/ Astra Zeneca vaccine from India was approved by various regulators and is being rolled out in other countries and that the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) was placing reliance on this as part of expediting the regulatory process.

Political Bureau

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