File picture: Reuters
File picture: Reuters

Political parties optimistic about arrival of vaccines, but seek more answers

By Siyabonga Mkhwanazi Time of article published Jan 30, 2021

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Political parties have backed the arrival of the first consignment of vaccines on Monday, saying they believe it will provide protection against the new variant.

South Africa will become the second country on the continent to get vaccines after Morocco received its first batch of 2 million doses.

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize announced that the first consignment of AstraZeneca vaccines will be delivered on Monday from the Serum Institute of India.

South Africa will get 1 million doses, with another set of 500 000 doses to be delivered later in February.

The government wants to inoculate 40 million people, or 67% of the population, by the end of the year.

The DA, IFP and Cope said they believe many people and healthcare workers will benefit from the vaccines.

DA national spokesperson and its spokesperson on health, Siviwe Gwarube, said yesterday scientists have been leading the process in fighting Covid-19. She said they believe the vaccines will be able to fight the new variant.

“In terms of the variant we have, from the beginning the process has been led by science,” said Gwarube.

There has not been a suggestion that Astrazeneca would not work against the variant.

“Until we have scientific evidence that this vaccine is not effective, we need to get as many health workers as possible,” said Gwarube.

DA leader John Steenhuisen said yesterday they have lodged an urgent application in the Western Cape High Court to force the government to provide details on the rollout of the vaccine.

IFP national spokesperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa said they welcome the arrival of the vaccines as they will intensify the fight against Covid-19.

He called on Mkhize to fight against any corruption in the supply of vaccines. Hlengwa said they want many people who need vaccines to access them.

“The IFP will closely monitor the implementation of the first phase of the vaccine rollout process to ensure fairness and to ensure that those scheduled to receive their inoculations receive it,” said Hlengwa

Cope said they want the top politicians in the country to be the first to get vaccinated.

Dennis Bloem, the spokesperson for Cope, said there has not been guarantees how the vaccine will respond to the variant.

However, he said people should stick to what experts and scientists have been saying all along, that people must wear masks and follow other health protocols.

In their court application Steenhuisen said the DA had been asking government to provide this plan but failed and were now heading to court.

“Today our lawyers made an urgent application to the Western Cape High Court to obtain a declarator that government's conduct in procuring vaccines as well as its preparation for the rollout of these vaccines are in violation of several constitutional principles.

’’We asked the court to instruct government to develop a comprehensive and coordinated vaccination rollout plan, and to deliver this plan no later than one month of the order,” said Steenhuisen.

Political Bureau

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