South Africa has lost 274 312 Covid vaccine doses to wastage. This is according to a recent reply from the Health Minister to a DA parliamentary question.
According to the reply (see here), South Africa has lost 245 232 Pfizer doses and 29 080 Johnson & Johnson doses as of 21 November 2021.
The cost of one Pfizer shot is estimated at R308, with one Johnson & Johnson shot estimated to cost around R280. This equates to an estimated R83 million in lost money owing to avoidable waste, including damages, expiry dates and the “doses lost during the unrest in July 2021”.
The DA calls on the Department of Health (DoH) to urgently come up with workable solutions in order to curb the avoidable wastage of Covid-19 vaccines. These vaccines are precious and we cannot allow a single dosage to go to waste.
As daily case of Covid-19 cases surge, South Africa needs to accelerate its vaccination campaign. We are in urgent need to increase the numbers of vaccines uptake, particularly as large numbers of South Africans begin traveling across the country for the holiday season.
The DoH needs to intensify its vaccine awareness campaigns to minimise the amount of vaccines that go unused and expire. Not only are we losing crucial vaccines to wastage, but we are also wasting millions of rands and undermining our ability to continue fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.