Day 426 – Vaccine links

South Africa’s rollout of the Coronavirus vaccine is well underway, or perhaps more accurately punctuated, it’s… well… underway.

It’s been fraught with problems from well before the outset, namely that we didn’t buy any vaccines, and then when the vaccines that we didn’t order didn’t arrive, we blamed “the West”. But several (or more) other places in Africa and our third world peers around the globe seem to be having very little issue with securing their vaccines, despite “the West”. And while I’m not denying that things could have been a bit more sharey, it’s really just a convenient scapegoat for their incompetence.

Two major issues with the trickleout are the lack of eligible people registering to get vaccinated, and the plethora of ineligible people who are getting vaccinated.

The first of these problems comes about because when you ask over-60s to register online, you overlook the fact that they don’t have access to devices and/or data (the Western Cape is making an effort to change this), and even if they do have those things to hand, they tend to be more technologically-challenged than many other age groups. So we’re looking at around 25% of the cohort who have signed up. That’s not enough. And that’s just signing up, not being invited to get the vaccine, and (also importantly) not necessarily being able to get to where they need to be to get the vaccination, even if they do get invited. That’s really not enough. Thankfully, there are stories of help being on hand, but they are few and far between (this is literally the only one I have heard of, so actually “there is story” would be more accurate).

Even then, we still don’t have enough vaccine to go around: either homegrown or from elsewhere.
And no-one is saying when either problem might be resolved.

So, the system isn’t working. And then to add insult to injury (and this being South Africa), there are those who aren’t following the rules, slipping in and getting their vaccinations early.

The man in charge of the government’s Electronic Vaccination Data System (EVDS), Dr Nicolas Crisp, sounds gatvol.
From having to spend time haggling with a Twitter user who was telling others how to use a link in a medical aid registration system to hack the EVDS and get in line for a vaccine if you’re younger than 60, to having to shut down the healthcare worker site because youngsters were using it to get access to vaccines, it has already been a rough week. And it’s only Tuesday.

I feel for him, but a more robust (some would call it “adequate”) system wouldn’t have had this sort of issue. Who could have foreseen South Africans bending the rules by… *gasp*… clicking a checkbox on a website?
There was a big fuss over “an influencer” jumping the queue a couple of weeks ago, ostensibly claiming that he was a healthcare worker (checkbox), when actually – as mentioned above – he doesn’t have a real job. But it continues, with a well-known local safari guide openly admitting to cheating the system to get his vaccination yesterday. And then sharing in his IG story that he had arranged to go back and get a second dose earlier than planned so that he can go on holiday to Iceland. And to be fair, a ‘togging trip to Reykjavík does seem like a genuine reason for someone to get the jab instead of it going to a vulnerable 90 year old just as the third wave hits SA. I mean, obviously.

But: balance. We need to note that he didn’t get the vaccine for him. He got it for his family and for his clients. Altruism on point. It’s surely just a slip of tongue then when he mentions that he wanted to get the J&J vaccine “because then I could only get one jab and I’m done: easier for travel”, because that wouldn’t affect his family and clients, would it? And this was all about them.

Yeah. I think he’s a bit of a wanker. But no matter how important he considers himself, he’s just another drop in the ocean when it comes to those manipulating the system. And those individuals are just a tiny part of the mess, but they are also symptomatic of yet another dysfunctional nightmare being served to us by our kleptocratic, incompetent government. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I can’t see myself being vaccinated (here in SA) before the end of this year.

And that means no holiday in Iceland for me this winter.