Friday, 24 September, 2021
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Rwanda leaves SA standing in vaccination race

Rwanda has vaccinated 140 000 people in two days, while South Africa has vaccinated the same number of people in three weeks, reports News24.

A shortage of vaccines has meant desperate medical staff have been unable to get appointments. Only a limited number of vaccines are available as part of the Johnson & Johnson Sisonke Ensemble study.

Professor Francois Venter, Director of Ezintsha, a subdivision of the Wits Reproductive Health & HIV Institute, said South Africa was vaccinated way below the necessary levels to reach community immunity soon.  Venter said, Rwanda, a country of over 12 million people and a GDP 38 times smaller than South Africa's, was able to vaccinate about 70 000 people a day.

Rwanda received Pfizer/BioNTech and AstraZeneca doses from the Covax facility and had so far vaccinated 254 000 people. Rwanda's vaccination campaign is being conducted in hospitals and in markets using mobile clinics. They were also using helicopters to reach communities not easily accessible by road.

SA Medical Association chairperson Dr Angelique Coetzee said: "Of the 40 000 doses received this weekend, only 7 000 goes to the private sector … There is nothing we can do because there is limited supply.  We cannot hold government at gunpoint to give us vaccines."

Dr Faeezah Patel, researcher at the Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute and principal investigator of the J&J trial at Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital, said South Africa's pace was slow "because we are not doing a rollout, but rather an extension of a study with much stricter guidance and rules, as well as much more controlled vaccination supply… Therefore, this can't be compared to what other countries are doing."

 

[link url="https://www.news24.com/news24/southafrica/news/covid-19-crisis-stuttering-sa-left-behind-as-rwanda-powers-ahead-in-vaccination-drive-20210317"]Full News24 report (Access restricted)[/link]

 

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