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Experts Question COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout Plans

Government started talks with vaccine manufacturers too late, according to Alex Van den Heever from the Wits School of Governance.

Van den Heever says this makes it improbable that the first batch will arrive in February.

He says no agreements or commitments have been made yet.

Van den Heever believes the plan is unfeasible as he believes it is improbable that the South Africa Government has bilateral arrangements with manufactures or any agreements which have reached any stage of maturity to date.

So he believes it is entirely speculation that South Africans will get access to vaccine in February.

He concluded by saying that’s not to say that South Africans shouldn’t have expected to have vaccines from February – because Government only started looking at doing this from the last month, instead of preparing from mid-year.

Wits University Virologist, Shabir Madhi, says a vaccine is not likely to be ready next month.

He says a lot more still needs to be done.

“What has been presented is not a strategy, it’s an aspiration, it’s an aspirational goal, and the reason I say that is because you can only have a strategy in place in terms of targeting 67% of the population once you’ve actually secured supplier vaccine,” he said.

Government expects manufacturers to deliver COVID-19 vaccines as early as next month, and priority will be given to frontline care workers.