Deputy President David Mabuza believes that South Africa will meet its COVID-19 vaccination demands as the government wraps up negotiation contracts with drug makers.
The Deputy President made this declaration during the virtual South African National Aids Council (SANAC) plenary this morning.
Meanwhile, he admitted that the inoculation acquisition has been a very difficult journey given the shortage of global vaccine supply.
He told delegates that the country faced challenges of negotiating “onerous and tough contractual” terms imposed by the vaccine manufacturers.
“While the process of vaccine acquisition and procurement will require agility and speed to meet our domestic vaccination demands, we are confident of meeting our targeted projections based on negotiations currently underway to access vaccines through various institutional platforms,” he said on Friday.
Deputy President Mabuza also took the opportunity to commend Minister Zweli Mkhize and the team for their job well done as they continue to work under demanding circumstances.
“In the end, we will overcome as a country,” he vowed.
Alongside efforts to accelerate the country’s comprehensive response to HIV and AIDS, Tuberculosis and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), the Deputy President has called on delegates to support government’s vaccination programme aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19 and reduce deaths.
“Over and above non-pharmaceutical interventions, such as continuous sanitisation of hands, social distancing and avoiding high spreader gatherings, the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines will help us to reach population immunity so that more people are immune against the virus.”
He said the plan has comprehensively mapped out storage, distribution and immunisation sites that will ensure equitable access to lifesaving vaccines by everyone irrespective of where they live.
“The phases of the plan provide clear categorisation and prioritisation of various population groups to be targeted over the period of the vaccination process until the country achieves the desired population immunity.”
The Deputy President, who chairs the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Vaccines, appointed by President Cyril said the team has been providing leadership and overseeing the distribution.
Meanwhile, the Health Department and National Treasury have been leading negotiations with global vaccine manufacturers to ensure that the country has enough jabs for the distribution plan to succeed, he added.
In the meantime, he said South Africa has taken a firm view, and commitment to building its own capabilities for research, innovation, development and local production of vaccines.
According to the Deputy President, this will ensure that the country is better prepared for outbreaks and pandemics such as COVID-19, HIV and AIDS, TB and other communicable diseases.
“We need to leverage existing capacities and foster collaborative platforms for vaccine research and innovation among universities, the scientific community and global partners to position South Africa as one of the leaders in vaccine research, development, and manufacturing.”
He told SANAC that it remains an essential institutional coordination platform to deepen multi-sectoral collaboration in the fight against HIV, TB and STIs and COVID-19.
“For it to be effective, we have a responsibility to strengthen governance systems, and mobilise resources to execute the tasks at hand.”
He noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has hurt the accelerated national response to HIV and TB.
However, he said government is encouraged by the catch-up plans aimed at ensuring that the country does not fall behind in reaching its targets.
“As we will be commemorating the World TB Day, which provides us an opportunity to educate the public about the impact of TB around the world, and raise awareness about efforts to prevent the spread of the epidemic.”