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The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Health, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, received a briefing from the Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize on, among other things, progress on the rollout of the vaccines in the country.
Minister Mkhize is going to appear before the committee soon as part of his regular updates to the committee on the rollout of Phase 2 of the vaccination programme and other issues.
Dr Dhlomo said he has noted that the Pfizer vaccine has its limitations in that the vaccine is available in the metros and big cities. He told Minister Mkhize that other methods are needed to ensure that there is rollout of the vaccine in the rural and farming communities. Dr Dhlomo said Minister Mkhize is aware and mindful of the challenges that the Pfizer vaccine presents, hence the continued alternatives to source Sinopharm and Sputnik in addition to the Johnson & Johnson that is currently in use.
Minister Mkhize told Dr Dhlomo that, he and the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority have been working hard to ensure the availability of the Sinopharm and Sputnik vaccines where the Pfizer vaccine does not reach rural communities.
Among the issues that Dr Dhlomo and Minister Mkhize discussed included the complaints of the Democratic Nurses Organisation of South Africa (Denosa). Dr Dhlomo told Minister Mkhize that Denosa’s complaints need to be addressed as the implantation of the rollout of the vaccine programme depends largely on healthcare workers.