The Democratic Alliance (DA) says it has taken a position against any possible mandatory vaccination policy by the government for COVID-19. The issue of mandatory vaccination has generated a lot of public debate since the outbreak of the pandemic.
The party says while it strongly supports vaccination against the pandemic, current evidence shows that vaccines are less effective at preventing transmission.
It says the number of infections is still occurring amongst highly vaccinated populations.
DA Head of Policy, Gwen Ngwenya says at present there is no significant pressure on hospitals due to COVID-19.
“Today the DA after lengthy consultation with the public health experts has taken a position on mandatory COVID-19 vaccination. Our position is that we strongly support and we will continue to advocate for COVID-19 vaccination which protects against severe disease and deaths due to COVID-19.
“However, we are opposed to mandatory vaccination. The social risk to be assessed which mandatory policy vaccination is attempting to mitigate is significant pressure on hospitals due to COVID-19. Yet there is no significant pressure on hospitals due to COVID-19 at present,” Ngwenya explains.
Ngwenya adds that epidemiologists have estimated that over 70% of the South African population have some degree of immunity from vaccination or prior vaccination.
The Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) said mandatory vaccination is possible if the authorities are well organised.
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‘Vaccinate all adults’
Health Minister Joe Phaahla recently said he was hopeful a decision on mandatory vaccination would be made before the end of this month as vaccine uptake remained low.
He said the government’s main priority remained to vaccinate all adults, at least up to 70% coverage.
Dr Phaahla said he agreed with experts that COVID-19 was moving towards becoming an endemic disease, adding South Africa is ready for this.