Time’s up, Minister Mkhize: Are South Africa’s vaccination sites ready?

Please find attached soundbite by Siviwe Gwarube MP.

The DA calls on the Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize, to provide the nation with an urgent update on the state of readiness of South Africa’s vaccination sites.

Following the DA’s oversight tour of vaccination sites across the country to assess its readiness, the DA is greatly concerned about the lack of vaccination sites directly linked to bigger hospitals. As things stand, many primary healthcare facilities will not be fully ready for 17 May when the 2nd phase of the rollout is meant to begin.

The DA has – thus far – visited facilities in KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape and Gauteng. These oversight inspections raised the following concerns:

  • Inadequate cold storage capacity;
  • Little to no communication on vaccine registration to the communities that will combat vaccine hesitancy;
  • Lack of security for vaccine storage; and
  • Inadequate infrastructure and human resources to be able to house a full vaccination programme and the extra capacity required to staff the operation.

These inadequacies expose the very real possibility that facilities could be overwhelmed once the 2nd phase of the vaccine rollout commences, especially if the country inches closer to a 3rd wave of infections. The other possibility is that we could have an incredibly poor uptake of the vaccine due to a lack of awareness among many communities. This is why a comprehensive public awareness campaign is absolutely critical while we are two weeks away from the rollout.

With the threat of a possible 3rd wave of Covid-19 infections, the government can ill-afford to continue bungling this vaccine rollout programme. We need to ensure that we get our collective ducks in a row before mid-May. That is why the DA will continue with the tour across the country in order to ring the alarm bells of problems before they occur. Lives and livelihoods remain at stake.

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