Western Cape Premier Alan Winde has reiterated that his province won’t give up attempts to procure its own vaccine, as it cannot rely on the ANC-led government.
“We will continue to keep our vaccine acquisition team engaged. The departments of health and provincial treasury have worked extensively on the planning processes and systems required in order to ensure a corruption-free and responsible procurement programme,” IOL quoted Winde as saying.
Health Minister Zweli Mkhize recently said there was no need for provinces to procure their own vaccines.
“There is no need for a province to try and secure their own vaccines, there’ll never be a need for it, in fact, there’s not even a need for contingency reserve to keep some back in case something goes wrong” EWN quoted Mkhize as saying when he visited a vaccination site in Mitchells Plain last month.
But Winde maintained that the Western Cape provincial health authorities were forging ahead.
‘ANC is trying hard to stop us’
“I have not managed to put a vaccine on the table, the ANC is trying very hard to stop us at every turn but we will continue,” Winde said.
“It is quite embarrassing that we stand here as a country where, quite frankly, Ivory Coast has vaccinated more people than we have, Nigeria, Uganda, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, Egypt, Kenya, Botswana, Senegal, Ghana, Rwanda, Zimbabwe and Morocco are by far the leaders in vaccinating their people, and we have only had the first real shipment for rollout, so of course we have to make sure we mitigate this risk,” he said.
At least 381 171 healthcare workers had been vaccinated under the Sisonke Protocol by May 7.
Reports on Saturday indicted that at least eight people in the Western Cape had tested positive for the COVID-19 variant first detected in the United Kingdom.
According to Times Live, the Health Department said two variants of concern had been detected in South Africa.
Of the B.1.1.7 variant which was first detected in the UK, there were 11 cases, while the B.1.617.2 variant, which was first detected in India, four cases had been detected, the report said.
“Of the 11 people who tested positive for the variant first detected in the UK, eight were detected in Western Cape. Of those from the Western Cape, two have a history of traveling from Bahrain,” eNCA reported.
From the 11, one person was from KwaZulu-Natal and two were detected in Gauteng.
“The B.1.1.7 has been detected in community samples and this, therefore, suggests that community transmission of B.1.1.7 has already set in.
“As the epidemic progresses, the detection of new variants is inevitable. The work of genomic surveillance assists us to detect the variants and understand their behaviour and to refine vaccines so they remain effective,” Mkhize said in a statement.