Alan Winde: Western Cape will continue its own vaccine procurement
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Cape Town - Premier Alan Winde said it is embarrassing that multiple other African countries have vaccinated more people than South Africa, as he reiterated his ongoing plan to procure additional vaccines for the Western Cape.
This week President Cyril Ramaphosa said it was not the government's fault that the country’s vaccine rollout was sluggish as there were several factors outside the government’s control at play.
By May 7 about 381 171 health-care workers had been vaccinated under the Sisonke Protocol.
While Covid-19 cases in the province have remained largely stable, slight increases in the metro have health officials on alert. As of yesterday afternoon, the Western Cape had 2 193 active cases with an additional 245 cases from the previous day.
The number of those hospitalised also saw a slight increase from 732 at the beginning of the week to 769 by Friday.
Western Cape head of health, Dr Keith Cloete, said while they had expected a decrease in case numbers from last week due to reduced testing because of the public holiday, an increasing trend in cases from the northern, eastern and southern suburbs was concerning.
Responding to questions at the Provincial Legislature this week, Winde highlighted the importance of a consistent vaccine strategy, reiterating that the province would not give up attempts to procure its own vaccine supply as it could not rely on the ANC government.
“We will continue to keep our vaccine acquisition team engaged. The department of health and provincial treasury have worked extensively on the planning processes and systems required in order to ensure a corruption-free and responsible procurement programme,” he said.
Winde has received criticism from the ANC over his insistence on acquiring vaccines for the province outside of the 46 million doses the national government has procured, of which 4.7 million would come to the Western Cape.
Last week, Minister of Health Zweli Mkhize said there was no need for provinces to procure their own vaccines.
“I have not managed to put a vaccine on the table, the ANC is trying very hard to stop us at every turn but we will continue,” Winde said.
“It is quite embarrassing that we stand here as a country where, quite frankly, Ivory Coast has vaccinated more people than we have, Nigeria, Uganda, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, Egypt, Kenya, Botswana, Senegal, Ghana, Rwanda, Zimbabwe and Morocco are by far the leaders in vaccinating their people, and we have only had the first real shipment for rollout, so of course we have to make sure we mitigate this risk,” he said.
“We will try to procure the vaccines that are already approved by SAHPRA as well as those ones that are close to (approval). I had an engagement with the new minister in Bavaria of the EU and engaged with her last week because what has happened in this state is they have attracted the Sputnik manufacturing into the Bavarian economy and we know Sputnik is one of those vaccines that are in application for approval in our country.
“I have engaged with the advisor to the King of Jordan as well, I wrote letters to just about everyone in the world from a diplomatic point of view, and if I get some traction I hand it over to the procurement team. I have not given up, I will continue to push to get vaccines sooner rather than later,” Winde said.
The second phase of the country’s vaccine rollout is expected to take place in eight day’s time, and Winde said it is expected to receive 325 000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine every week until the last week of May where the numbers will increase to 630 000 per week from then on.