‘SA working with global fraternity to make COVID vaccines more accessible’, Mkhize says


Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize believes South Africa should work toward the global effort which seeks to make COVID-19 vaccines – once they are developed and approved – accessible to countries who do not have the financial resources to purchase bulk stock.

Mkhize was speaking during a webinar with members of the South African Medical Association on Tuesday evening.

“All of us are aware that there have been over 200 or so vaccines being tried all over the world. At this point, we have three on trial in SA. We have been in touch with companies developing them and we believe that we should work together with the global effort toward the making of vaccines more accessible and more affordable to countries who do not have the resources,” he said.

“We have all been in various platforms where we have spoken against resource nationalism where people will only focus on putting all their resources together to hoard available vaccines for themselves.”

Mkhize said there is global awareness around this particular issue.

“It’s very expensive to put out financial contributions ahead of time and we are going through those kinds of discussions as a country,” he explained.

Speaking to medical professionals and healthcare workers, Mkhize said that by working together, South Africa can build a world class health system.

“What is important is that every part of the world has got its own challenges. We might be tempted to think we have it the worst out of all countries; but the reality is that if we put our minds together, we can fashion our country to be among the best in the world,” he said.

“All the skills and ideas we have should be put together to get the best out of ourselves and out of our country.”

Mkhize thanked healthcare workers for their contribution to the fight against COVID-19.

“Our issues relate to the fact that in the past few weeks we have seen the country emerge out of the surge of COVID-19. We have seen the number of deaths, although increasing, slowing down. We have also moved from Level 2 to Level 1 with less of an explosion than what we noticed from when we moved from Level 4 to Level 3,” he said.

“You have played a very significant role in getting us to a point where we have a recovery rate of 90%. Thank you for all the work you have done and thank you for taking the real risks. You have braved it all through so to all the health workers, we want to say to you that you have done very well.

“Both as a person, a South African and as government, we thank and salute you for all the work you have done. You have saved our country from what could have been a decimating pandemic.”