Anglican Archbishop Makgoba concerned about slow COVID-19 vaccine rollout

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Anglican Archbishop Thabo Makgoba says he is concerned about government’s slow COVID-19 vaccine rollout programme, especially in poor and marginalised communities, where corruption has left healthcare systems fragile.

President Cyril Ramaphosa recently announced that South Africa had secured 41-million doses of vaccines from various pharmaceutical companies.

The vaccinations are expected to be administered to the population in the coming months.

Makgoba says he is skeptical about how long it will take to administer vaccines across the country. He was speaking during the Easter Vigil Service, which was held at St George’s Cathedral, in Cape Town.

“We know very well that there are large areas of our country where political corruption has poisoned public healthcare systems. Shame on those who have left hospitals and clinics short of people, equipment and protection. I have read that on the current strategy it would take 18-years to vaccinate our entire present population! We cannot allow that to happen.”

Anglican Archbishop, Thabo Makgoba, says he is concerned about government’s plans for the rollout of the COVID-19…

Posted by SABC News Western Cape on Sunday, 4 April 2021

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Meanwhile, President Cyril Ramaphosa says the Aspen manufacturing facility in Gqeberha, in the Eastern Cape, will produce 30 million vaccine doses for South Africa in April alone. The rollout is set to start in the same month.

Ramaphosa and his Deputy David Mabuza, accompanied by other high-profile officials, visited the facility to assess the process of vaccine production last week.

This is part of government’s partnership with the private sector:

Ramaphosa says 220 million doses of the vaccines will be exported across Africa.

Aspen Pharmacare collaborated with Johnson and Johnson to establish the capacity required for the manufacturing of the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine at the sterile facility in Nelson Mandela Bay. The facility contains high-technology equipment and systems that will be used to manufacture drugs and vaccines.

President Ramaphosa is happy with the progress made so far.

“This Aspen here belongs to us as South Africans and it is making life-saving vaccines for our people and we, as South Africa, must be in pole position to be able to get the vaccines but we have also said that these vaccines must be available not only for South Africa but for the rest of the continent as well with immediate effect,” he says.

The facility also has the capacity to produce up to 300 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine annually. Ramaphosa adds that Aspen has invested more than R300 billion in it.

“Now, the J and J vaccine is very beneficial to us as it is a one-shot vaccine and that is what we are going to need for people in outlying areas and rural areas. Now, that is going to give a huge boost to our continent, especially when the COVAX vaccine will come to play as the vaccine rollout takes place.”