Many politicians and officials have been implicated in Covid-related scandals. For survival, SA needs an injection of new government.
Hype around Covid-19 vaccinations is unwarranted. The rollout is too slow and inefficient for the third wave of infections which is upon us.
In comparison, the first wave of vaccinations is a ripple.
Without a heavier injection of private sector energy there is no way the target of vaccinating 40 million people by year-end will be achieved.
At the current rate, it could take another 19 years to reach herd immunity. In theory, the private sector is coming to the rescue, and all will be well.
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On Sunday, Business Times quoted Business for SA as saying about 110 private and 210 public sites will be online this week. We shall see.
The report failed to mention that control freaks in government are trying to manage all this through the Electronic Vaccine Data System (EVDS).
This facility has not functioned optimally during the limited vaccine rollout for health workers and people over 60 years old.
Those running efficient private sector vaccination sites cannot choose who to inoculate. It all has to be done via EVDS.
Even where walkins are allowed, vaccination sites can’t accept people not registered on EVDS. Which would make sense if the system was efficient.
Yet Daily Maverick reports that EVDS has been hacked by tech-savvy queue jumpers who are neither health workers, nor senior citizens.
Some old folks have had to miss appointments because the SMS alerts were sent at too short notice – one hour 15 minutes in the case of one granny who was on the way to a family wedding and had to forgo the jab slot.
During the first week for over-60s, starting 17 May, there were reports that unused scheduled Pfizer vaccines would have to be thrown away.
Pfizer vaccine must be kept at -70°C. The required “cold chain” is at risk when vaccines are scheduled but not used within a certain time.
Anyway, for a while there were announcements on radio that folks over 60 without appointments could pitch at the Discovery building in Sandton.
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The resultant traffic jams put a stop to that recruitment method. Despite a few such frenzies, South Africans have generally curbed their enthusiasm for vaccines. By the weekend, “only 33% of uninsured public patients over 60 and only 57% of private ones”, had registered on EVDS, according to Business Times.
The unregistered include poor people with limited access to online devices.
Anecdotally, there are also cautious folks waiting to see if the vaccines are okay. And then there are anti-vaxxers such as the outgoing chief justice.
Ironically and controversially, Mogoeng Mogoeng “loves and prays” for Israel, which has the world’s highest per capita vaccination rate, and is already inoculating 12-15 year olds.
At the other ends of the spectrum, South Africans have to rely on a vaccination system controlled by a corrupt, incompetent government.
The cloud hanging over Health Minister Zweli Mkhize is not isolated.
Many politicians and officials have been implicated in Covid-related scandals, weakening public trust. For survival, SA needs an injection of new government.
Martin Williams, DA councillor and former editor of The Citizen.