Minister of Higher Education, Science, and Technology Blade Nzimande has revealed his department will, in the next few weeks, convene a panel of scientists who will brief the public on the inner workings of vaccine development, to quash conspiracy theories doing the rounds.
NZIMANDE BLASTS 5G VACCINE CONSPIRACY THEORIES
Nzimande said this in a media briefing on Monday 18 January, in which he was expected to speak mainly on dates and plans for the reopening of institutions of higher learning in the country. He however spent some time delving into vaccines and the innovative ways in which scientific institutions under the department have been contributing to studying the evolution of the deadly coronavirus.
Nzimande dismissed global conspiracy theories doing the rounds on social media alleging that the COVID-19 pandemic was intentionally developed by the global elite including Bill Gates, to roll out vaccinations with 5G tracking chips meant to control human beings.
BLADE NZIMANDE: VACCINES UNDERGO RIGOROUS SCIENTIFIC TESTING
The Higher Education, Science and Technology Minister emphasises that vaccines go through rigorous scientific testing, debunking myths that they are unsafe. No date for this panel discussion was announced, but expectations are that more details, including the names of panelists will be revealed in due course.
The time spent on the vaccines during the briefing was not appreciated by all who were eagerly watching.
SOUTH AFRICA TO RECEIVE ASTRAZENECA VACCINE
In early January, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize announced South Africa will receive one million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine in January and 500,000 further doses in February, sufficient for all of its health workers. The vaccine doses is being provided by the Serum Institute of India.
The health department has an estimated 1.25 million healthcare workers, both from public and private sectors, who need to be prioritised.
Mkhize added that the acquisition has been done directly by the Department of Health, which ultimately strengthens the credibility of the process as all the negotiations and payment issues are managed directly by the government with the manufacturer.
The government is reportedly considering a tax increase, in order to cover the billion-rand cost of rolling out a COVID-19 vaccine for all. The proposal has become public knowledge, just days after President Cyril Ramaphosa assured the nation that there was “money in the pot” for the lifesaving jabs.