The first vaccines are manufactured, hundreds of millions of little ampules becoming ready for distribution. But who gets it and when? Will South Africa get it? The answer is as simple as frightening: NO! Why? Here is the chain of events:
At an early stage during this pandemic, it quickly became apparent that to end this global crisis we don’t just need COVID-19 vaccines, we also need to ensure that everyone in the world has access to them. This triggered global leaders to call for a solution that would accelerate the development and manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines, as well as diagnostics and treatments, and guarantee rapid, fair and equitable access to them for people in all countries. Then we seemed to have the solution: COVAX, the result of an extraordinary and unique global collaboration, with more than two-thirds of the world engaged, is one of three pillars of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, which was launched in April 2020 by the World Health Organization (WHO), the European Commission and France in response to this pandemic. Bringing together governments, global health organisations, manufacturers, scientists, private sector, civil society and philanthropy, with the aim of providing innovative and equitable access to COVID-19 diagnostics, treatments and vaccines.
South Africa is also part of COVAX and the only action necessary to ensure to remain on the frontline of receivers once the vaccine ships to Africa was to make a down payment of ZAR 327m in November 2020, representing 15% deposit on the total bill of ZAR 2.2bn for all Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines allegedly ordered.
But then our government’s ignorance raged war against COVAX as no payment was made, which was confirmed by the Head of Compliance at the Department of Health
A second deadline was set by COVAX for payment to be done by 15 December 2020. Guess what? Again no payment was made and the second deadline missed as well and put to question the responsible “leaders” maintained it was in the process of finalising its agreement with COVAX, blaming the missed deadline on an administrative issue: “Liar, liar … pants on fire (and now infected!)”
But that is not where the drama ended. Bombarded with questions, demands, threats and enquiries, the Minister of Fading Health Mkhize informed the public that it was never the intention to buy such expensive vaccines like Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna, instead, the government had negotiated with Oxford in the UK to supply the AstraZeneca Vaccine, which was much cheaper (but also with 62% far less effective!).
On 7 January Mkhize informed the public that the country is “on track to vaccinate 40 million people with the AstraZeneca Vaccine within the next 12 months”, and that “the first million doses will land on our shores still this month as he had secured to buy 1.5m doses from India’s Serum Institute (SII)!”
This gave at least a bit of hope until … on 13 December 2021 Oxford/AstraZeneca dropped the bomb as they announced that they can’t sell Covid-19 vaccines in SA, despite South African government claims of being in talks with them for months as there were no talks at all!
They elaborated further that the rights to the sale of the Oxford/AstraZeneca Vaccine are exclusive with the SII in India and when Mkhize and his goons were asked to whom they have been talking when he announced to have secured the vaccine last week, no comment was received.
Congratulations, the ANC government has lied – yet again – to the public, but this time to the detriment of national health and lives as nobody will get a vaccine in South Africa in the near future.
And I thought the death penalty had been abolished in SA …