I will take the COVID-19 vaccine the moment it is my turn to do so.
My decision to communicate this arises from a Senate Meeting of ActionSA which has resolved on a number of policy matters relating to COVID-19. This includes our commitment to playing a leading role in the South African society’s fight against this pandemic.
ActionSA’s central resolution is that we support safe and effective vaccines as a proven weapon in preventing diseases. Millions of children are vaccinated every day against diseases which have been eradicated precisely because of the vaccines that were developed to combat them.
In the same way, the swift and effective rollout of a COVID-19 vaccine is essential to reduce the burden on our hospitals, reduce the loss of life associated with the pandemic, ensure that we do not constantly face further waves of this pandemic, and end our economic lockdown. This is critical to our efforts to save the lives and livelihoods of the people of our country.
Critically, ActionSA’s position on COVID-19 treatment acknowledges that it must be the right of every South African to determine, with informed consent, whether they will receive the vaccine or not. The sanctity of a person’s body, and their right to determine what they will and won’t receive as medical treatment, is a long-established principle that cannot be infringed.
ActionSA has similarly supported the urgent and full exploration of a holistic approach to fighting COVID-19. This includes the continued use of measures such as social distancing, sanitising and mask wearing, as well as the need for SAHPRA to urgently finalise its consideration of potentially effective therapeutics like ivermectin.
ActionSA stresses the need for government to expedite the procurement, distribution and implementation of a safe, effective and approved vaccine.
In nations with highly advanced infrastructure networks, the vaccine rollout has been described as one of the biggest logistical exercises in history. Given our government’s propensity to fail in both planning and execution, and with so many lives hanging in the balance, serious concerns must be expressed about the planning behind the procurement, distribution and implementation of the vaccine in South Africa.
ActionSA is deeply concerned about the level of misinformation which is circulating pertaining to the vaccine and other COVID-19 related matters. Of great disappointment is the failure of government to provide the requisite level of education and awareness about the vaccine, COVID-19 and its treatment so that South Africans can make their choices with sound information.
I call upon all South Africans to be responsible in their communication on COVID-19 related matters and to challenge information that is misleading. We can only prevail against this pandemic when fact, logic and science prevail over misinformation.