“A combination of government ineptitude, bad luck and possible vaccine hesitancy is crippling SA’s vaccination efforts,” wrote Natasha Marrian in Financial Mail (24 June 2021).
The vaccine rollout has given the DA ample fodder for attacking the ruling party and the EFF demands that SAHPRA authorise the use of Chinese and Russian vaccines in SA, to address a shortage of doses and accelerate the rollout.
As it stands, SA is set to miss its target of vaccinating 5-m people over the age of 60 by the end of June and experts have raised concerns over whether it will reach the target of herd immunity - in other words, vaccinating 40-m people - by the end of this year.
Unfortunately, the bottom line remains that SA is far down the priority line for vaccine manufacturers because it began negotiating for vaccines way too late. Most countries began negotiating between August and September 2020, but SA got the ball rolling only in January 2021, and only after pressure from academics.