The North West Department of Health has denied reports of a COVID-19 vaccination drive in the province after it received numerous complaints from members of the public.
“As far as the Department is aware, there is currently no vaccine for COVID-19 yet. Government is still in the process of acquiring the vaccine and once it is obtained, the process of rolling it out will be communicated by the Minister of Health,” said spokesperson Tebogo Lekgethwane.
The department said it had a meeting on Monday with an organisation called Epic Center that is allegedly conducting such a vaccination drive. “The field workers denied doing COVID-19 vaccinations, but indicated that they are conducting the national COVID-19 antibody study. The National COVID-19 Antibody Study is commissioned by the National Department of Health and has nothing to do with COVID-19 vaccination. Members of the public are also advised that the study is voluntary and not compulsory. No one should be coerced or forced to participate in the study. Those willing to participate in the study can do so willingly knowing they are contributing to a national cause,” he said..
However, the North West Department of Health said it is concerned that protocol was not followed to allow the study to proceed in the province. “Normally, once the National Department has approved a study, a research organisation first has to report to the provincial office that will inform the districts. Such a protocol will also be preceded by a public communication to make communities aware of any particular study or campaign. In the light of this, the department has instructed the supervisor of the study to recall all their field workers from all our districts until proper protocol is followed.”
Once all protocols have been met, the department will allow the National Antibody Study to proceed again.