The South African government jumped the queue to secure 1 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccines ignoring a directive by the World Health Organization (WHO) for all countries to receive the Covax vaccines at the same time.
This was the view of epidemiologist Professor Salim Abdool Karim today. Karim was addressing health experts and the media about his views on Covid-19 in memory of the first positive case detected in Durban on March 5 last year. During his address, Karim listed South Africa as one of the countries in the world which ignored WHO’s orders, entering into a bilateral agreement with India to secure the AstraZeneca vaccines.
He said the WHO had instructed all countries to receive vaccines at the same time, to help all of them to suppress the virus. Karim stopped short of attacking the government, but was quick to launch a veiled attack on Western Cape Premier Alan Winde and his provincial cabinet for insisting that they would go ahead alone to obtain vaccines for its citizens. Without mentioning the Western Cape province by name, Karim said those who wanted to follow that route wanted to treat their provincial boundaries as a “little island”. But that’s not what Professor Salim Abdool Karim said in this interview.