Gauteng should procure extra Covid-19 vaccines

The Democratic Alliance welcomes the Gauteng Health Department’s plan to start Covid-19 vaccines next week, but more vaccines need to be obtained urgently to reach the target of more than 10 million people vaccinated in the province.

Gauteng’s 150 000 frontline healthcare workers will deservedly get the first batch of the AstraZeneca vaccine, but a really substantial number of vaccines may only come towards the middle of the year. This will be too late to mitigate an expected third wave of Covid-19 infections as winter approaches.

Sole reliance on national government to procure vaccines is unnecessary and unwise as health is a provincial competence. This is why Western Cape Premier Alan Winde is trying to get extra vaccines from different suppliers.

Gauteng Premier David Makhura should also make every effort to get vaccines from around the world wherever they are available.

The benefits of vaccines for saving lives and livelihoods in Gauteng are immense, and the earlier the better.

Money from the provincial budget for extra vaccines would give a massive return in facilitating economic activity. The country as a whole would benefit because of the hefty role that Gauteng plays in the national economy.

The DA will be launching a petition to urge Premier Makhura to make an urgent effort to procure more vaccines for the people of Gauteng.