’We aim to make the vaccine available to all adults living in SA’
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Cape Town – President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday night announced that the government aims to procure enough vaccine doses to ensure that all adults living in the country can be vaccinated – whether they are South African citizens or not.
He did, however, stress that government had no intention of compelling citizens to be vaccinated.
Ramaphosa was updating the country on government’s plans to roll out the vaccines after the first batch of AstraZeneca’s Covishield vaccine arrived in Johannesburg from the Serum Institute of India earlier today.
“We all want to be free of this disease. We all want to be safe, and for those we love to be safe. We aim to make the vaccine available to all adults living in South Africa, regardless of their citizenship or residence status,” Ramaphosa said.
He also assured the country that the vaccines procured by government had been rigorously tested to ensure their safety.
“The vaccines that we are procuring have gone through meticulous, multi-stage testing processes, including large trials involving thousands of people,” the president said.
“In addition to determining their effectiveness, these trials are also designed to identify side effects and safety concerns. Independent regulators then review the data from these trials to ensure they are not harmful.
“The vaccines that we are procuring have been shown to be safe in large clinical trials across multiple countries.”
Ramaphosa said the government was working on ensuring that illegal immigrants, which have proven a huge headache for officials because they do not have the required paperwork to access many basic services, are properly tracked so that their vaccination history can be documented.
The president made it clear that being vaccinated was a choice, and that anyone who chose not to be inoculated would not be discriminated against.
“Nobody will be forced to take this vaccine. Nobody will be forbidden from travelling, from enrolling at school, or from taking part in any public activity if they have not been vaccinated,” Ramaphosa said.
“Nobody will be given this vaccine against their will, nor will the vaccine be administered in secret. Any rumours to this effect are both false and dangerous.”