by MTHULISI SIBANDA
JOHANNESBURG – SOUTH Africa’s official opposition has expressed mixed feelings over the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine rollout plan announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday.
Addressing the nation during the so-called family meeting, the president disclosed South Africa had secured 20 million vaccine doses while discussions with many vaccine producers were ongoing.
The 20 million doses would be delivered throughout the course of the year, with a significant amount being shipped in the first half of 2021.
“We welcome his (Ramaphosa’s) announcement that 20 million vaccines have been secured, but the details are very vague,” said John Steenhuisen, leader of the Democratic Alliance (DA).
He sought the identity of suppliers of the vaccine and how the vaccines would be rolled out.
Steenhuisen also expressed surprise at the African Union (AU) vaccination rollout programme.
“Why are we only hearing about the AU programme now for the first time?”
The opposition leader dismissed as a “lie” that Ramaphosa’s government had been negotiating for vaccines for the past six months.
“If Ramaphosa wants us to believe that, he needs to provide proof, since either he is lying, or the vaccine suppliers are,” Steenhuisen charged.
In his address, Ramaphosa said the initial phase would prioritise 1,2 million front-line healthcare workers.
He said in Phase 1, the government aims to prioritise essential workers including teachers, police and municipal workers.
Old age homes, shelters and prisons people over 60 years of age and adults with co-morbidities will also be prioritised.
The remaining adult population of around 22,5 million people will be covered under Phase 3.
“We will have reached around 40 million South Africans, which is considered to approximate herd immunity,” Ramaphosa said.
– CAJ News