By Kaya 959 Reporter
More than 3, 000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been wasted.
Gauteng Health MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi revealed the figure in the Gauteng Legislature this week. Mokgethi was responding to questions put forward by the DA.
DA spokesperson on Health, Jack Bloom, says 191 Pfizer vials and 498 J&J vials of the COVID-19 vaccine were wasted.
“This amounts to 3 636 doses in total as there are six doses in a Pfizer vial and five doses in a J&J vial,” Bloom explains.
Mokgethi explained in her response how the doses were wasted. Some vials were opened but people were not available to use all the doses.
Some vials were also spoiled due to power failures, while others expired. Bloom says while it is disappointing that vaccines are wasted there is another pressing issue.
“The larger problem is Gauteng’s flagging vaccine programme which lags other provinces. Only 29% of adults in Gauteng are fully vaccinated compared to 34% for South Africa as a whole and 40% or more in the Western Cape, Free State and Limpopo,” Bloom says.
COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy
Mokgethi blames vaccine hesitancy on social media and the mobility of people in the province. She also blames a shortage of the one-dose J&J vaccine where preference is given to rural provinces.
The Gauteng Health Department is now concentrating on outreach efforts, pop-up sites at workplaces and gathering places. More weekend vaccination sites are also on the cards.
“I agree with the approach to take vaccines to the people, but far more needs to be done to push up vaccinations before an anticipated fourth wave. Only 3.3 million people are fully vaccinated in Gauteng, whereas the target is 10 million,” Bloom says.
Mokgethi noted that many teenagers who are now eligible for the vaccine are deferring their jabs until after examinations are over.
Bloom says the priority, however, should be the 1.3 million over-50s in Gauteng who are still not vaccinated.
“Every effort should be made to reach them as they are the most likely to end up in hospital or die because of Covid-19 infection,” he says.