DA wants Human Rights Commission to urgently probe vaccine roll-out plan
Johannesburg - The DA is reportedly weighing its options on the government's “tardy and criminally slow vaccine roll-out strategy”.
This comes after the party announced that it will approach the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) to urgently launch an investigation into the vaccine roll-out plan.
The party’s MP, Siviwe Gwarube, argued that South Africa began its vaccine roll-out exactly seven weeks with the Johnson & Johnson Sisonke trial which is meant to overlap with phase 1 of the roll-out to cover the target of 1.2 million healthcare workers.
“To date, just over 269 000 healthcare workers have been vaccinated, a fraction of the target. The trial alone is meant to cover 500 000 healthcare workers but has been impossibly slow. In the last four days alone, not a single jab has been administered.”
Gwarube said 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 dribs and drabs of supply.
“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. All this is happening while there is a real threat of a third wave of infections exacerbated by the winter season,” she said.
At a portfolio committee meeting on March 30, the Department of Health committed to vaccinating the entire adult population over a period of a year since the start date of vaccination February 17 and to vaccinate as many adults as possible within 202.
The department said it was committed to rolling out vaccines from mid-February through a phased programme which would see front-line health care workers being vaccinated in the first three months, high-risk groups vaccinated in the ensuing six months and then healthy adults in the remaining three months.
“We are still on track in this regard, although there were some delays in the beginning we are still within our timeframes. We also assured South Africans that our working relationships with manufacturers are strengthened by continuous engagement which began as early as June in 2020.”
However, Gwarube stated that they cannot continue hoping that the timeline which keeps on being adjusted for the impossible delays will be met because nothing has gone according to the government's plan to date.
“This is why the DA will be approaching the SAHRC.”