Business adding speed to vaccination roll-out plan
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THE business community has stepped in to help South Africa ramp-up its Covid-19 vaccination capacity, which should help the economy to recover.
Widespread vaccination is seen as the quickest way to an economic recovery and boosting investor confidence after the lockdowns halted activity in certain sectors of the economy.
South Africa’s vaccination roll-out programme has been plagued by a number of delays, with the number of vaccinated people recently surpassing 6 million.
Business for South Africa (B4SA) on Friday said the private sector’s vaccination capacity was now about 110 000 doses a day.
B4SA chairperson Martin Kingston said the private sector had been doing its part to ramp-up the daily vaccination rate.
More than 230 000 people a day were being vaccinated by both the government and the private sector.
The government’s goal is to exceed the daily vaccination target of 300 000 doses a day and administer up to 420 000 jabs a day by mid-September.
Kingston said the remarkable ramp-up in the vaccination roll-out programme was directly attributable to the solid partnership between business and the government.
He said capacity would be increased as more vaccines became available.
“We are using every possible avenue to get as many jabs into as many arms, across the broadest cross-section of society,” Kingston said. “We are pleased that the government has enabled us to do this by putting the right policies in place.”
Acting Health Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane said the country seemed to have passed the peak of the third wave of Covid-19 infections that were driven by the Delta variant.
Kubayi-Ngubane said the government was putting additional systems in place to ensure vaccinations were performed at an even faster rate.
“We have agreed with the Solidarity Fund that there should be mass vaccination sites in all metros across the country. This is to cater for the large population densities that are found in metropolitan municipalities. The first model will be roving vaccination sites, which will move from one community to the next based on the demand,” she said.
Today, the government was expected to take delivery of about 1.4 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and 968 000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, as well as Covaxdonated vaccines.
Kingston said business welcomed the confirmation of an additional supply of vaccines after civil unrest and the vandalism of 120 private pharmacies in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng disrupted the roll out of vaccines.
The South African Reserve Bank last week said that disruptions to the supply of vaccines and a protracted lockdown posed downward risks to economic growth, although it maintained its forecast of 4.2 percent growth for this year.
Investec chief economist Annabel Bishop said the vaccine roll-out had improved substantially, but it needed to extend its reach to those who were eligible but had not been vaccinated.
“Sentiment, however, is still reeling from the violent unrest centred mainly in KwaZulu-Natal, but also afflicting Gauteng and to a lesser extent Mpumalanga,” Bishop said.
“With lockdown restrictions harming many industries, South Africa needs to urgently act to lift some restrictions on economic activity.”