MBABANE: The Political Parties Assembly(PPA) has questioned the decision by government to rely on donations instead of using the budgeted E200million to purchase quality COVID-19 vaccines.
The PPA is a collaboration of political parties calling for democratic reforms in the country, it consists of the People's United Democratic Movement(PUDEMO), the Swaziland Democratic Party(SWADEPA) and the Ngwane National Liberatory Congress(NNLC). Other political parties that form part of the PPA include Sive Siyinqaba “Sibahle Sinje” and the Swaziland People’s Liberation Movement(SPLM).
Speaking during a talk-show on this Swaziland News audio channel, Wandile Dludlu, the PUDEMO Secretary General said as an organisation, they supported the vaccination of the citizens as a way of fighting the pandemic but urged government to use taxpayers\' money to buy more vaccines instead of relying on donations.
“As PUDEMO we support the vaccination process and we have no problem with these AstraZeneca vaccines, we will follow the advice of health experts. We always welcome the donations, but what is of major concern to us is the fact that government is now gambling with our lives by refusing to fork out money and purchase vaccines, we can’t rely on donations” ,he said.
Ngomyayona Gamedze, the Acting Chairman of Sive Siyinqaba questioned why a vaccine with low efficacy that was rejected in other countries would now be used to vaccinate the citizens.
“We are a small population, with all the monies we have in the country, we can afford to buy quality vaccines” ,he said.
Mbongseni Shabangu, the Secretary General of the Swaziland Democratic Party(SWADEPA) said as a political organisation, they had a serious problem with the use of a vaccine that was rejected in South Africa because it can’t prevent the spread of the variant. He said the use of the AstraZeneca vaccines must start with the country’s authorities and this should be done publicly.
“We want to see the country’s authorities vaccinated with this AstraZeneca, it must start with them so that we can test it's efficacy” ,he said.
Sibongile Mazibuko, the President of the Ngwane National Liberatory Congress(NNLC) said the virus knew no borders adding that if the AstraZeneca vaccines were rejected in South Africa because of its low efficacy,then it cannot be effective in Eswatini.
“A virus knows no borders, so if these vaccines were rejected in South Africa then why are we accepting it? We expect government to use our money, the E200million to buy quality vaccines like the Pfizer that was used by the American staff, we can’t gamble with people’s lives” ,she said.
Bheki Mamba, the President of the Swaziland Democratic Nurses Union(SWADNU) who was part of the talk-show as a health expert said the AstraZeneca was approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO) but it was later discovered that it had a low efficacy. He said they didn't have any problem with vaccinating the population, however, as nurses they needed a vaccine with high efficacy so they can be protected in their line of duty.
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