Flu vaccine for SA winter restricted to health workers

Image: 123RF/lightwise

South Africans outside the health care sector may not get flu shots this year, because orders placed a year ago are way below the demand, due to the outbreak of Covid-19.

In its latest Covid-19 statement on Saturday, the SA department of health notes that this year’s batch of flu vaccine has been rationed and will be made available first to health care workers.

The department says the country received a very limited stock of flu vaccines.

The vaccines are pre-ordered a year in advance.

At the time the country’s public and private sectors placed their orders, the Covid-19 pandemic had not been anticipated.

“This means that as it stands, our flu vaccines are understocked,” minister of health Dr Zweli Mkhize said. 

“As government we have engaged with the pharmaceutical industry and it became clear that the distribution of this vaccine has to be rationalised and prioritised.

“We have therefore taken a decision that health workers in the country will be given priority in receiving the flu vaccine.

“The country cannot afford to have them sick especially as the flu season approaches. This is one of the major lessons that we have learnt from countries that have experienced the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We therefore plead for the understanding of all South Africans who may unfortunately not have access to the flu vaccine this year,” Mkhize said.

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