A group of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) has urged the government of South Africa to ensure undocumented people in the country benefit from its Covid-19 vaccine rollout programme.
Health Minister Zweli Mkhize had said that people would have to show their identity documents to prove that they are South African citizens before they can receive the vaccination.
The NGOs, including Lawyers for Human Rights, Global South Against Xenophobia of the Covid-19 People’s Coalition, and South African Human Rights Defenders Network, urged the government to reveal its vaccine rollout strategy.
The human rights organisations said they were concerned about the lack of clarity regarding vaccination of undocumented people in the country.
South Africa has started Covid-19 vaccinations following the suspension of an earlier plan to use the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.
Over a third of all Covid-19 cases in Africa have been in the country, with a new variant of the virus accounting for most of the new cases there.
The country, which is using the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, has received 80,000 doses of it.
‘Many South African citizens and non-citizens alike simply lack access to documentation that would be required for vaccine access’, the NGOs said in a letter addressed to the government.
They also said clarity was essential in countering potential disruptions to vaccine rollout, including xenophobia, and preventing unjust and unconstitutional exclusions from vaccine access.
‘We therefore call on the Covid-19 task force to immediately clarify vaccination arrangements for undocumented people’, they said.
‘This will clearly signal the government’s commitment of the vaccine as a human right for all, and its full investment in curbing the pandemic’.
South Africa says it has so far secured enough doses for the target population of 40 million.
Photo source: AFP