Premier on the hunt for vaccine supplies
Western Cape Premier Alan Winde vows he will continue working to secure Covid-19 vaccines for the province’s residents and hopefully boost the national tally.
On Thursday, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize announced that South Africa has secured a million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine and it will arrive this month. A further 500 000 doses of the vaccine is expected in South Africa next month.
Winde has suggested that the vaccine be acquired and distributed regionally, a suggestion the Health Department has dismissed because pharmaceutical companies want to complete deals with countries on a large scale.
But Winde said he would not stop in his attempts to get the vaccine to the Western Cape: “I promise you if I can get another million vaccines, I will.
“I don’t think it’s very easy, a lot of companies are saying they’ve already got all their product booked, but I am still trying and if I get another … obviously I’m not going to become a cowboy, I will do it in a responsible manner, take it through the system, they have to be approved.”
He added that his efforts were not only for those in the Western Cape: “I will let the minister know that I’ve got another pile of vaccines, in actual fact if we don’t have enough for our front line I will try and get more vaccines for our front line across South Africa, not necessarily only for the province.”
Winde is confident that next week he will be able to unveil a plan for the vaccine rollout in the province. “We’ve got our technical expert committee, our prioritisation team and our forecasting and logistics team, have already been meeting this week and we will have our plan hopefully by the digicon next week.”
He added it would be a detailed explanation of how and where people will be vaccinated against Covid-19. “We can actually roll out what that plan looks like so it will be these chemists, these clinics, this is how many gloves and syringes, because it's not just the vaccine it’s like a whole machine that has to be in place. So our team is working on that at the moment. But while they are doing that, on my desk I have a whole lot of people that I’ve been phoning as well to ask, if you’ve got excess vaccines can we procure them, how do we procure them?”
Meanwhile, the Health Department has confirmed that the initial 1 million doses of the vaccine will cost R150 million to procure.