Ramaphosa’s vaccine rollout is failing – DA leader

DA leader John Steenhuisen has penned a scathing attack in the City Press regarding South Africa’s vaccine rollout.

Steenhuisen argued that government’s official vaccine roll-out has not truly begun.

“The current vaccine “roll-out” that government is crowing about is merely an expansion of the Johnson and Johnson trials, using vaccines set aside for that purpose in various countries and provided free of charge by the manufacturer,” said Steenhuisen.

“The trial is being run at existing sites by scientists, not by the department of health. In fact, there is no government-run roll-out.”

He also said that government should be administering the 1 million AstraZeneca the country received earlier this year.

“Even if they do not provide full protection against all variants of the virus circulating in our population, they will prevent disease and death among older people with comorbidities as we head into the third wave,” said Steenhuisen.

“Leading scientists in South Africa, the World Health Organisation and the European Medicines Agency have advised that South Africa should administer the doses to high-risk individuals.”

Steenhuisen also noted that experts have criticised government for not having a practical plan, and said the “failure” of the vaccine rollout will define Ramaphosa’s presidency similarly to how former President Thabo Mbeki’s tenure was marked by his failure to roll out antiretroviral drugs timeously.

Worrying hospital death numbers

Steenhuisen’s piece follows the results of a new study by the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), which found that the South African variant of COVID-19 is associated with increased in-hospital mortality.

“On multivariable analysis, after adjusting for weekly COVID-19 hospital admissions, there was a 20% increased risk of in-hospital mortality in the second wave,” said the research.

“While some of this is explained by increasing pressure on the health system, a residual increase in mortality of hospitalised patients beyond this could be related to the new lineage 501Y.V2.”

While the researchers said the data should be used with caution, they added that during the third wave, South Africa will need to slow the spread of COVID-19 to prevent increased mortalities in hospitals.

Read the full paper here.

New hand sanitiser rules in South Africa

A key way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to regularly wash your hands with hand sanitiser.

The South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) recently changed the national standard for these products so that South Africans only use effective products.

Key requirements that must now be fulfilled include:

  • Minimum of 70% alcohol content if alcohols like ethanol, isopropanol or n-propanol are the main ingredients.
  • Minimum of 60% alcohol content if there are other active ingredients, like benzalkonium chloride.
  • No solvents such as acetone/propanone, methanol, methylated spirits, or other spirits are allowed.

Manufacturers will also need to supply evidence that their products will retain the correct physiochemical properties and efficacy for the duration of their shelf lives.

On Friday, 311 new fatalities were reported over a 24-hour period, with Kwa-Zulu Natal leading the list with 138 new deaths.

There were 1,462 new cases over the same period.

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Ramaphosa’s vaccine rollout is failing – DA leader