South Africa has at least 13 million unused vaccines and is turning away additional shipments from the US.
The government has made three mistakes in its rollout of Covid-19 vaccines.
Only 38% of adult South Africans have been fully vaccinated and another 7% partially (as of 5 December). The rollout has been driven by demand from the "vaccine keen", as GroundUp editor Nathan Geffen and Spotlight editor Marcus Low called them. The pattern of weekly vaccinations revealed a recurring pattern: the vaccination picks up whenever access is widened, allowing more of the "vaccine keen" to get vaccinations, then slows down rapidly, once most of the eligible "vaccine keen" have been vaccinated. At no point, however, has the vaccination rate been fast enough to use up the steadily accumulating supply of doses in the system (see graph).
Back in May, when the public sector rollout began, Geffen and Low argued that the government should not micro-manage the rollout and should stop worrying about so-called queue jumpers. They recommended that the government drop the requirement for prior registration, open vaccinations as soon as possible to all age groups and allow for easy vaccinations at bus stops, pension pay-out points and so on....