Let’s take a close look at the real state of SA’s vaccine rollout

Ideas

Let’s take a close look at the real state of SA’s vaccine rollout

Jonathan Jansen’s criticism of government’s vaccine rollout is all very well but we need to look at the whole picture

David Harrison

Doomsayers thrive in times of uncertainty, playing on our primal fears of what may be lurking just around the corner. They caricature the efforts of those working on the jigsaw puzzles of the future, pretending that the pieces are all there if you just look hard enough. They resort to ad hominem insults and pounce on the failings of others.

A textbook example is Jonathan Jansen’s article entitled “SA’s vaccine rollout is a disaster” (Sunday Times Daily, May 5). Its opening line is the dire prediction that “it’s time to face an unpleasant truth that you might not get vaccinated for a very long time”. It goes on to accuse government of indifference and constant missteps, makes perplexingly personal comments about the minister of health and concludes by portraying the corporate sector as the white knight that could rescue us from such ineptitude. A thorough dissection of the article would simply fill our conversation space with more rancour than light, but still its grimly satisfying call for clarity must be challenged when the reality is both harder to understand and to explain.  

That reality is a mix of government torpor, outrageous demands by manufacturers from behind the veil of confidentiality, and the twists and turns of a novel virus seeking to secure its berth in the epidemiology of the future. Even this is an ersatz portrayal of reality. Things have rolled out slower than they should have, but there are hundreds of health managers across the country working day and night to put the systems in place for an effective programme. There is also some logic behind the demands on manufacturers who fear being blown out of the water should masses of people develop serious side-effects that warrant compensation.   ..

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