Mabuza: Lockdown and vaccine rollout prevented a 'catastrophe'

Deputy President David Mabuza said following the second wave, an incident management team and the WHO reviewed successes and failures and that this had helped in planning for the third wave facing South Africa.

Deputy President David Mabuza visits the Biovac Institute in Midrand on 2 March 2021. Picture: GCIS.

CAPE TOWN - Deputy President David Mabuza said the government lockdown and vaccine rollout had prevented a catastrophe.

He was responding to questions in the National Council of Provinces on Tuesday.

Mabuza said the inoculation drive continued to be a key intervention in preventing more infections.

He added that following the second wave, an incident management team and the WHO reviewed successes and failures and that this had helped in planning for the third wave facing South Africa.

Mabuza said the current vaccine rollout to more than a million healthcare workers and people over 60 years old had helped.

"Of course, these measures assisted a great deal in preventing a catastrophe by saving lives that could have been lost had government not acted in the manner that it acted."

Mabuza said initially, vaccine uptake was slow and there were regulatory issues with manufacturers.

"Initially, there wasn't an uptake to vaccinations due to limited supply of the vaccine because of global demand for vaccination as well as pessimism towards their use. This has been addressed by concluding negotiations with manufacturers and upscaling government risk communication.”

Mabuza said the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was facing a “hurdle” in USA where the country’s drug regulator was still reviewing it.

Millions of J&J vaccines in South Africa have also been contaminated. Mabuza said the Sputnik V Russian vaccine was also being considered and they had received the green light to utilise the Sinovac vaccine.

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