CAPE TOWN – Health authorities will face a grilling from the Auditor-General of South Africa if thousands of vials of COVID-19 vaccine expire and have to be disposed of.
The warning came as officials from the office of the AG briefed Parliament’s health portfolio committee on Wednesday.
Earlier this month, Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla reported that about 100,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine were at risk of being destroyed by the end of the month due to the slow uptake by citizens.
It’s understood about 48% of adults have so far had at least one jab to protect them from the virus.
Early on in the pandemic, South Africa was able to sell doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to neighbouring countries.
Andries Sekgetho of the Office of the Auditor-General said the national Department of Health would face questions if the Pfizer vaccines went to waste.
“They will have a tough time if they allow this batch to expire on the basis of slow uptake because they have already proven that when faced with this particular challenge, there are avenues to be explored and they would need to come and demonstrate how those were explored and why they were unsuccessful, if it comes to that particular point in time.”