Independent Online

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Like us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterView weather by locationView market indicators

SA business lobby group wants elderly to be part of first phase Covid-19 vaccination

Stavros Nicolaou, an executive of Aspen Pharmacare which has a contract to make Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccines in South Africa, and who also serves as chairman of the Public Health Workgroup at Business for South Africa. Picture:Simphiwe Mbokazi African News Agency (ANA).

Stavros Nicolaou, an executive of Aspen Pharmacare which has a contract to make Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccines in South Africa, and who also serves as chairman of the Public Health Workgroup at Business for South Africa. Picture:Simphiwe Mbokazi African News Agency (ANA).

Published Mar 22, 2021

Share

Promit Mukherjee

Johannesburg - South African business lobby group Business for South Africa (B4SA) called on Monday for the government to shift the emphasis on its vaccine programme to target the elderly and vulnerable sooner, to prevent hospitals being overrun in a third wave of Covid-19 infections.

Story continues below Advertisement

South Africa is behind schedule in the first phase of its vaccination programme, aimed at inoculating health care workers. Those over 60 or with co-morbidities are not meant to be vaccinated until a later second phase, along with other essential workers and people who work in crowded settings.

Stavros Nicolaou, an executive of Aspen Pharmacare which has a contract to make Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccines in South Africa, and who also serves as chairman of the Public Health Workgroup at business lobby Business for South Africa (B4SA), said the group had called for changes in light of the slow rollout.

The lobby group had written to the government this month, recommending elderly and vulnerable people be moved higher up the priority list, he said.

"In the absence of having sufficient vaccines in quarter two, it makes more sense to start vaccinating people who are in the mortality curve, and not overwhelm the healthcare services," Nicolaou told Reuters on Monday.

South Africa's vaccination campaign was slowed after it cancelled the use of AstraZeneca vaccines, found in a small study to be less effective against a variant of the coronavirus dominant in the country.

So far only 160 000 health workers have been vaccinated with Johnson & Johnson's Covid-19 vaccine, just 13% of the target to vaccinate 1.25 million people by the end of first quarter.

Story continues below Advertisement

An email sent to the government was not immediately answered. March 22 is a public holiday in South Africa.

Share