Cyril Ramaphosa conducted an oversight visit to the Durban Port. However, the subject on every South African’s mind came up, and the president took the opportunity to allay fears about the recent delays in the vaccine rollout.
The president was at pains to assure the public that the government has not placed all its eggs in one basket. President Ramaphosa said:
“We work with a number of vaccine developers and manufacturers. We work with the Chinese, the Russians, the Cubans, European companies and so forth”.
Vaccine rollout criticism
The South African vaccine rollout has come under a lot of criticism from opposition parties who feel that government has dropped the ball. Rampahosa added:
“On the vaccine side, we are traversing unchartered territory, all of us around the world. Our objective as government is to protect the lives of South Africans. And that, we will continue to do, and we will continue to make choices”.
Executing the planned vaccine rollout is critical to South Africa’s future. Until vaccines have been administered to a critical mass of South Africa, life is unlikely to go back to anything resembling normal.
Efficacy of vaccine in question
The vaccine rollout has been complicated by the South African strain of the virus, which studies suggest will lower the efficacy of vaccines in South Africa.
This, along with the slow procurement of vaccines, has meant that it now seems like a tough task for 67% of South Africans to receive the vaccine by year-end as planned.
“We are procuring vaccines from a number of areas. Johnson & Johnson are halted for now, but hopefully not for too long, because the scientists are going to look at the efficacy of the vaccine. Already Pfizer will be arriving, and Sputnik will also be arriving as well as Sinopharm”.
The president’s remarks come as the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was suspended. The suspension came after several other country’s suspended the use of the vaccine, citing fears that the vaccine could cause blood clots.
South Africa joined the US and European Union in suspending the administration of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
A move that has come as somewhat of a surprise considering the few reported cases and the fact that no causal link between the clots and the vaccine has been established.
Watch: President Ramaphosa at Durban Port