By Liyema Mpompi
After AstraZeneca has been confirmed to be less efficacious against the 501.V2 virus that is dominating in the country, the South African government has received wide criticism as to how the procurement of 1 million doses was finalised without checking the efficacy level of the vaccine against the variant. Later in February minister of health, Dr Zweli Mkhize announced that the purchase of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, which happens to be efficacious, and the plan was to vaccinate health workers in the first phase.
Now with phase two vaccination rollout set to begin mid May 2021, the speed of vaccination compared to other African countries like Morocco has been questionable. The eligibility to qualify to get vaccinated still remains unclear to many people. According to the department of health phase two vaccination will focus on people above the age of 60 years and people above the age of 18 with co-morbidities to vaccinate.
The main reason for the slow speed of vaccination is that South Africa is facing a different and more dangerous variant as compared to other countries which makes it impossible to use the vaccine that is available in big quantities and is being used by other counties. Making it a bit slower, are the lengthy procedures that need to be followed and different phases of vaccinations that we use for rollout. 29 March 2021 president Cyril Ramaphosa visited the aspen Pharmacare facility in Gqeberha and said, “220 Million vaccines are for the continent of Africa, and out of 220 million, 30 million will be made available for South Africa.”