While we all wish 2021 would start with a clean slate, it won’t. Many key themes from annus horribilis 2020 will be with us well into the new year.
The Covid-19 vaccine
It’s clear that the global scramble for vaccines will be decided along economic rather than moral lines, and there is controversy about the number of doses already snapped up by rich Western nations. (Canada has already bought enough to vaccinate every citizen five times.) There are huge economic advantages to getting populations vaccinated as soon as possible. But almost nothing about the process is going to be simple for South Africa. Rolling out the vaccine is expected to be prohibitively expensive – R5-billion to almost R17-billion to inoculate 60% of the population – and there are logistical challenges to inoculating rural populations. Many of the details of South Africa’s access to the vaccine are still unclear, but the Health Ministry expects to receive doses for “at least 10% of the population” by “the second quarter of 2021”. Hopefully, the jab arrives before winter with its increased disease burden.
If things were looking dicey for South Africa before Covid-19, it’s no exaggeration to say the pandemic has…