PRESIDENT Cyril Ramaphosa says the delay in vaccine roll-outs is due to unforeseen mishaps and has nothing to do with government’s capability.

Answering questions in parliament, the president said South Africa was not the only country that had been short changed when it came to buying vaccines. He said the government relied heavily on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as it was manufactured in the country.

“The mishaps we have suffered have been completely out of our hands. The death of six people in the United States, which led to our authorities stopping the vaccination process, was completely unforeseen,” he said.

Ramaphosa said the matter has been resolved and the programme to vaccinate health workers has started again. He said they had finalised the procurement of 31 million doses.

“We have lost time on the Covid-19 vaccine roll-out, we know that. Of course we care. That’s what we have been doing since this pandemic started,” he said.

“We’ve been in the trenches and we’ve been doing the task of protecting and defending our people. The plan is in place, the centres are in place, the people have been trained. The transportation is in place to transfer these Covid-19 vaccine doses at the correct temperature. The medical aid schemes are supporting this process.”

He said the government’s wish was for the vaccines to be manufactured in the country, and the US government’s announcement that it supported copyright waiver was a big victory.

“An effective Covid-19 vaccine programme is critical to the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. We have made significant progress in securing vaccines to achieve what’s called population immunity,” he said.

“We’re working to improve matters that impact South Africans’ lives at a social and economic level. Will we make mistakes? Yes, we will. Will we seek to correct our mistakes? Yes, we will. The important thing is we’ll continue to move forward.”