SA turns our vaccine frown upside down

Things are constantly changing with South Africa’s vaccine roll-out strategy as conditions change, so we’re going to keep updating you. Last week we told you about government’s new plan to start Phase 2 of the programme in mid-May with the bulk of vaccinations concluding early next year. At that point, we had only procured Johnson & Johnson vaccines. But this week health minister Zweli Mkhize said we’ve signed a contract to secure a whopping 20 million vaccine doses from Pfizer BioNTech for the next phase. According to Reuters, this means all in all, SA’s government will have enough to vaccinate roughly 41 million people out of our total population of 60 million. 

After all the prophecies of doom, it’s amazing to know we’re (hopefully) back on track. There’s also news of millions of doses coming our way via the COvax shared facility and the AU. The real test now that we have stock, is the rollout of these vaccines. 

Meanwhile, the idea of “vaccine apartheid” continues to provoke discussion. The fact that developed nations like the US were able to snap up much more than it needed while the rest of the world had to wait isn’t right. Israel, for example, has been lauded for its swift vaccination rollout. The country was able to buy vaccines before they were even developed – but there’s been less talk about Palestinians being left behind in the vaccine plan. 

While we’re here, remember the raging debate about Ivermectin’s efficiency in treating Covid-19? This week the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority and other parties won the case to allow Ivermectin to be used to treat Covid-19. Doctors can now legally prescribe the medication. 

This article appeared as part of The Wrap, 18 February 2021. Sign up to receive our weekly updates.