Health Minister Dr. Zweli Mkhize will on Wednesday morning address the nation following confusion over the procurement of doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine from the Serum Institute in India.
A few days ago Mkhize announced a halting on the rollout of the vaccine, much to the disappointment of 1.2 million healthcare workers who were desperately waiting to be vaccinated against the virus.
This followed a clinical trial showing that the doses were ineffective in around 2000 patients, averaging around 31 years in age, infected with the newer variant of the virus.
Earlier, Mkhize said they chose the AstraZeneca vaccine due to promising results and its availability:
These developments have sparked confusion and outrage, with opposition parties and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) accusing government of lacking foresight.
Cosatu General-Secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali has called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to take responsibility for what he terms the AstraZeneca vaccine mess.
Ntshalintshali says, “For one, it’s going to be a wasteful expenditure. We are going to be told it’s no longer valid, it must be thrown away. It’s dangerous and must be thrown away and money will be lost.”
“The scientists, the Minister of Health, and the President must take responsibility. He is the captain. If anything is happening in the field of the flight, the captain takes responsibility. He has to do some consequence management. People have to account for why it is happening in this way when they were procuring the vaccine. They needed to know the expiry date when they were procuring the vaccine. before it’s delivered you need to sort out your storage where it is going to be kept.”
Political parties have expressed disappointment and deep concern after the government announced that it would hold back on the rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
In the video below, the African Transformation Movement calls Ramaphosa and Mkhize’s head: