The EFF has raised a number of concerns about phase 2 of the Covid-19 vaccination programme that began on Monday.
In addition to healthcare workers, the government on Monday started vaccinating those over 60 years of age, essential workers, people in congregate settings and those over 18 years old with comorbidities.
While some have celebrated the progress, the EFF “seriously” doubts the impact the “so-called” phase 2 will have on the fight against the virus.
“This concern stems from the spectacular failure of the government’s vaccination attempts to date. It is now common cause that less than 600,000 healthcare workers had been vaccinated by 17 May. This is one of many deadly mishaps in the manner the department has handled the Covid pandemic. These mistakes are deadly because they lead to the deaths of many,” the EFF said in a statement.
Mkhize admitted admitted on Sunday the country would fall short of its target of vaccinating more than 40 million people by the end of this year. He said the country could only achieve this target in the first quarter of next year.
“We will continue to vaccinate healthcare workers and complete the targeted 1.2 million by the end of the week. We will also begin to vaccinate citizens 60 years and older who are the most vulnerable to falling ill or dying of Covid-19,” Mkhize said.
“Five million senior citizens are targeted to be completed by the end of June, provided that the supply of vaccines flow as anticipated. By end June we expect to have received 4.5 million doses of Pfizer and 2 million doses of J&J once released.”
However, the EFF says the government has not done enough to include the targeted elderly people in the vaccination programme.
“In numerous communities across the country, particularly in rural, township and informal settlement areas, there is still a need to engage and communicate with the elderly about the need to register for vaccination and the steps needed to have them registered,” it said.
It slammed the “exclusionary nature” of digitised registration for the elderly.
“There have already been cases reported in vaccination sites that there are pensioners arriving with inadequate information on the registration process, thus delaying inoculation and overburdening healthcare workers once again with a duty that should have been fulfilled and implemented by the department,” it said.
During the launch of the second phase of vaccine registrations last month, Mkhize encouraged young people to help their grandparents register for vaccinations.
The EFF says the registration process is not only a a challenge for the elderly, but also the poor. It called on Mkhize to get healthcare workers to do more door-to-door visits in rural areas to ensure the elderly are registered for vaccinations.
“The reality is that millions of poor people do not have the means to register online for the vaccination programme,” it said.
“We further call on Mkhize to fast track the acquiring of more vaccines in order to vaccinate the 67% of the population needed to attain herd immunity. We reiterate that the government must procure other vaccines that have proven to be safe and effective against the variants of the virus found in this country.”