NEHAWU statement on the securing of vaccines by the AVATT
14 January 2021
The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (NEHAWU) welcomes the announcement of the securing of 270 million vaccine doses for African countries by the African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT).
The announcement was made last night at a special meeting of the African Union (AU) Bureau of the Assembly by President Cyril Ramaphosa who is also the African Union Chair. The African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team which was established by President Ramaphosa in August 2020 has secured 270 million vaccine doses for African countries, with at least 50 million being available for the crucial period of April to June 2021.
The vaccines will be supplied by Pfizer, AstraZeneca (through an independent licensee, Serum Institute of India) and Johnson & Johnson. We hope that the AVATT will develop and implement a comprehensive roll-out plan that will ensure that the vaccines assist in eradicating the threat of the coronavirus across the continent. This must be complimented by an aggressive and robust educational awareness campaign to avert vaccine hesitancy which might undermine efforts to reach herd immunity.
The national union applauds this achievement and hopes that more vaccines will be secured in order to inoculate the 60% of the African population needed to reach herd immunity in the continent. We appeal to countries that will receive the vaccines to prioritise workers in particular frontline workers as they battle with the virus in healthcare institutions.
The announcement of the securing of the vaccines by AVATT should not breed complacency or prompt our people to let their guards down. We appeal to all our people to continue to exercise and follow best practices and ways to avoid getting infected by the coronavirus including staying at home, observing social distance, wearing masks that covers both the mouth and nose, and washing hands with soap for 20 seconds or using alcohol based sanitisers.
Issued by Khaya Xaba, National Spokesperson, NEHAWU, 14 January 2021