People with co-morbidities are not now, and will almost certainly not in the future, receive priority access to Covid-19 vaccines in South Africa – despite earlier government promises.
As recently as January, government strategy was to include people with high-risk conditions for severe Covid-19 in the second phase of the vaccine rollout. And as recently as February, provinces were planning their vaccine rollouts with co-morbidities in mind. However, only healthcare workers and those over 60 are being vaccinated and it is likely going to stay that way.
According to Nicholas Crisp, the heath deputy director general in charge of the Electronic Vaccination Data System, “There is no prospect that co-morbidities will ever become a factor in prioritizing vaccine recipients”. This is for various reasons including legal and logistical ones.
He said that based on current scientific advice, age will be the only determinant of who gets vaccine priority.