Inequality was front of the queue before SA’s vaccine rollout ...

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Inequality was front of the queue before SA’s vaccine rollout began

Income disparity, technology and language limitations are fuelling a situation that reflects a global problem

John Bowker and Khuleko Siwele

SA’s national Covid-19 vaccine rollout has run for just more than three weeks, yet one of the country’s longstanding challenges is already hampering efforts to inoculate two thirds of the population this year: inequality.

People over 60 are eligible for Covid-19 shots during the current phase of the plan, which began May 17 after the delayed arrival of doses from BioNTech and Pfizer. Yet registration for a shot can only be done online or by cellphone, potentially excluding those without the right tech or someone to help them.

The process is in English, which only 8% of households speak it at home. The setup also favours those with private health insurance, or about 16% of the population, who tend to be higher earners...

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