Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said he wouldn’t expect God to want to act on a vaccine in South Africa that has been doing well in other parts of the world.
DURBAN – WHILE the Bible says “the prayers of the righteous availeth much”, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize, said he did not believe that the prayers of Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng had anything to do with the latest developments regarding the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Answering questions from the media during a briefing this morning on the outcomes of the vaccine efficacy studies, Mkhize said he wouldn’t expect God to want to act on a vaccine in South Africa that has been doing well in other parts of the world.
Mkhize briefed the media on the latest developments regarding the vaccine after it was revealed that the rollout of AstraZeneca vaccine, which had been scheduled to begin in South Africa this month, was on temporary hold after data showed the vaccine gave minimal protection against mild-to-moderate infection caused by the country’s dominant coronavirus variant.
Mkhize said the Department of Health was expected to continue with the planned phase 1 vaccination using the Johnson & Johnson vaccine instead of the AstraZeneca one.
Answering questions from the media on whether the chief justice’s prayer had worked, Mkhize said: “He didn’t mention AstraZeneca as such. I also believe that we serve one God and all of us as people, whether we are in London or South Africa or anywhere in the world, there would be a difference in the way that God would look at us.
“Therefore, I wouldn’t expect God would actually want to act on a vaccine in South Africa when the same vaccine is doing well in London, India, Europe and everywhere else. I think we shouldn’t mix the two issues. I think it was an expression from the chief justice to assure people that if there was anything that was wrong, they would be protected,” he said.
Mkhize said the AstraZeneca vaccine had not been shown to be dangerous. He said the question was on the vaccine’s efficacy in relation to the new variant.
“We need more information on that. We can’t even condemn it. We are saying up to now, it has not shown us what we need,” he said.
Last month, Mogoeng made headlines after he prayed against any vaccine containing what he called “666”, which Christians believe to be the mark of the devil.