The Western Cape is forging ahead with plans to procure its own batch of COVID-19 vaccines. Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has criticised the move, saying it’s counter-productive. The province says it’s slowly emerging from its second wave of infections, and it’s time to lift some restrictions, including the alcohol sales ban. Lindsay Dentlinger has more. #DStv403
CAPE TOWN - The Western Cape is forging ahead with plans to procure its own batch of COVID-19 vaccines.
Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has criticised the move, saying it’s counter-productive.
"It’s not necessary for one province to negotiate a deal for itself,” the minister said.
Besides, he says, the province won’t have enough money and does not have the authority.
Western Cape premier Alan Winde is undeterred.
“We have got [a] legal opinion that says nothing precludes us from procuring, it makes for good risk management to make sure we are spreading that risk, and of course everything I’m doing is in the interest of the citizens of our province,” Winde said.
Provincial health authorities have noted a 21 percent reduction in new COVID-19 cases over the past week.
Hospital admissions have also eased, but the province remains on high alert.
Western Cape Head of the Department of Health, Dr Keith Cloete said, “what we do in February and March is the crucial thing.
"Because there’s likely to be some upswing in cases at some point, and at this point, it might be as early as April, but it’s all speculation.”
Almost 800 health workers in the province are still affected by COVID-19, and authorities say securing a vaccine for them is now crucial.