Teachers wait to be vaccinated in Pinelands, Western Cape. Picture Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)
Teachers wait to be vaccinated in Pinelands, Western Cape. Picture Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)

Government’s poor planning around vaccine roll-out has left people anxious and desperate

By Editorial Time of article published Jun 25, 2021

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Today certain parts of Pretoria will be a sea of red as members of the EFF take to the streets in their call for the government to make Covid-19 vaccines available to all South Africans.

There are fears that this march may end up being a super-spreader event given that Gauteng is already experiencing a peak in coronavirus infections. It is unknown what impact the march, led by EFF president Julius Malema, will have on the country’s Covid-19 numbers, or whether those participating will ensure they comply with Covid-19 regulations.

What is clear, however, is that many people are not only growing anxious about obtaining access to vaccines, but are slowly becoming desperate, too.

This can be attributed to the government’s poor planning around the vaccine roll-out programme. The programme has since day one been mired in controversy. To this day, there is still no clear explanation as to why the government bungled the procurement of the AstraZeneca vaccines.

We still do not have valid answers as to why the purchase order for these vaccines was given the green light, only for the government to establish that the vaccines would expire soon.

Shortly afterwards, South Africans were assured that the vaccine roll-out programme would run smoothly with the introduction of the Johnson & Johnson vaccines. Even with these vaccines, the programme hasn’t been plain sailing.

Our government has missed its deadlines time and time again. In his initial announcement of the vaccine roll-out programme, President Cyril Ramaphosa mentioned that his administration would work hard to reach “herd immunity”.

Herd immunity is achieved when, for instance, 80% of a population is immune to the virus. Our current immunity percentage is dire. We haven’t even hit the 50% mark. India administered a record of 7.5 million vaccine doses this past Monday following its chaotic roll-out programme.

While the country was highly criticised, leaders have since sprung into action. South Africa needs to follow suit. We need an intervention soon, or else people’s desperation will become our greatest threat as a nation, and civil disobedience will lead to us losing many of our loved ones.

The Star

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