SAMA calls for transparency in procurement of COVID-19 vaccine

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The South African Medical Association (SAMA) says the procurement and distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine should be done in a transparent manner.

The association has commended the country for acquiring 1.5 million doses of coronavirus vaccine and says it will work with the government to ensure that healthcare workers are immunised.

On Thursday, Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize told Parliament that the first batch of the vaccine, which has been procured from India, would arrive in the country later this month. The second batch is due next month.

The announcement comes as the country battles a surge in the number of new coronavirus infections.

The country has now recorded more than 20 000 new infections for a second consecutive day.

“So we are actually hoping that the 1.5 will cover 1.5 million healthcare workers and then immediately within few weeks after that another 1.5 for the second dose because then we have covered nearly all the healthcare workers. SAMA will also urge the healthcare workers on the frontline to make sure that they take the vaccine and just not only be part of the roll-out of the vaccine but they themselves try to protect themselves by taking the vaccine,” says SAMA chairperson, Dr Angelique Coetzee.

SAMA says it intends to work with various stakeholders to ensure that healthcare workers receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Dr Coetzee says they are negotiating with pharmacies and doctors to ensure that healthcare workers are the first to receive the shots as per the government’s stated intention.

“We are going to work all together. Come up with the plan and we already this afternoon we are going to have the meeting with Business Unity South Africa where we are going to see how we are going to start the roll out in the private sector once the vaccine arrives in the country,” Dr Coetzee adds.

Dr Coetzee is urging authorities to act should there be any corruption in the procurement of the vaccine.

“We are absolutely against any form of corruption. Anyone who could be corrupted, especially with the procurement of the vaccine should be arrested and there needs to be an investigation, full investigation and they need to be held accountable if they are part of the corruption system,” she says.

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