Destruction of vaccines worth billions an indictment on Health Department

Issued by Haseena Ismail MP – DA Member on the Portfolio Committee of Health
19 Sep 2022 in News

Please find attached soundbite by Haseena Ismail MP.

The DA has noted with grave concern that the government plans on destroying millions of doses of Covid-19 vaccines, worth billions in borrowed funds.

The destruction of vaccines clearly shows government’s failure to improve South Africa’s Covid-19 vaccine uptake. Reports indicate that over eight million doses of Pfizer Covid-19 vaccines will be destroyed at the end of October, due to expiration.

Furthermore, the situation also raises questions about the fate of a further 10.1 million stockpiled doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine that will expire between June and September 2023.

Only 32.6% of South Africans are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 with 37 million doses being administered. More than 60 % of South Africans are not vaccinated against covid-19.

On the 13th June this year the World Bank approved a 454.4-million-euro (ZAR 7, 9 billion or $480 million) loan for South Africa’s COVID-19 Emergency Response Project. The loan came following a request by the government for assistance in financing vaccine procurement contracts.

The government has not yet disclosed the cost of procuring the vaccines with the health minister earlier this year, citing contractual agreements. The destruction of the vaccine doses highlights the government’s mismanagement and failure to deal with the Covid pandemic.

The ANC government’s response to the Covid pandemic has been marred by corruption and mismanagement which cost lives. The failures include the R80 million Digital Vibes corruption scandal which implicated the former minister of health Dr. ZweliMkhize. As well as PPE corruption which was rampant during the early days of the pandemic and yet the ANC wants to push the NHI – as a tool for further theft and maladministration instead of fixing the healthcare system and getting the basics right!

The DA calls on the Health Department to ramp up its vaccination campaign so that the above vaccines do not also expire and to ensure that more South Africans are vaccinated. The destruction of these vaccines is an indictment on the Department. They have clearly bungled the process. The Department must ensure that there is no more wastage of taxpayers monies due to binning of vaccines.