Health department makes U-turn on priority list of Covid-19 jabs

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The decision was confirmed by acting Health Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane in a tweet. Photo: GCIS
The decision was confirmed by acting Health Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane in a tweet. Photo: GCIS

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On Tuesday, the health department made a U-turn on its earlier decision to prioritise the vaccination of politicians, business and sports people.

The decision was confirmed by acting Health Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane in a tweet.

In the withdrawal, health deputy director-general Nicholas Crisp on Tuesday wrote: “Following the earlier circular on the special groups and individuals against Covid-19 there have been numerous comments, queries and submissions that indicate that the circular is unclear in its intentions. The circular is withdrawn in its entirety.”

The earlier circular, which City Press has seen, several parties including the heads of the provincial health departments and vaccination sites, were directed to prioritise ministers, deputy ministers, premiers and MECs as well as their direct staff, those nominated by President Cyril Ramaphosa and diplomats to be prioritised.

Those who wanted to travel outside the country for business and studies were also to be prioritised. They were directed to write to the department in order for them to receive priority approval.

In a Twitter post, which confirmed the authenticity of the documents, Kubayi-Ngubane said that directive had since been withdrawn.

READ: If we start vaccinating on weekends we could be ahead by one million

“This was not authorised by the IMC [inter ministerial committee] on a vaccine which is the final decider on the target population. I have consistently maintained that I will vaccinate when my age group population is opened. The same stance by many of my colleagues. Circular retracted,” Kubayi tweeted.

South Africa is vaccinating citizen by age groups, targeting the older people and essential service personnel first. In the current phase, law enforcement officials are being targeted as the pandemic continues to wreak havoc.

On Monday, Police Minister Bheki Cele kicked off the SA Police Service vaccination drive in Soweto. Cele and National Police Commissioner General Khehla Sitole were among the first to receive their jabs as the police plan to vaccinate more than 180 000 employees at the 108 registered sites across the country.

By Monday, South Africa recorded 12 513 new Covid-19 infections and 331 deaths, bringing the official death toll to 62 171.

The statement by the National Institute for Communicable Diseases said the country recorded 2 075 409 laboratory-confirmed cases.

Gauteng is leading with 709 628 confirmed cases followed by KwaZulu-Natal with 360 866 and the Western Cape with 333 542.


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Abram Mashego 

Journalist

+27 11 713 9001
abram.mashego@citypress.co.za
www.citypress.co.za
69 Kingsway Rd, Auckland Park
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