- B4SA Vaccination Support Programme0.83 MB
Business for South Africa (B4SA), together with the Solidarity Fund, civil society and its partners in labour, continues to support the numerous government-led COVID-19 initiatives to combat the effect of the pandemic, with a renewed focus on South Africa’s vaccination programme.
At a webinar today for B4SA stakeholders (slides attached) Steering Committee Chairman, Martin Kingston, commented: “Over recent weeks COVID-19 infections have surged and South Africa faces the unprecedented challenge of vaccinating her people. We have therefore resolved to reshape B4SA to have a singular focus - supporting the national vaccine programme under the leadership of the national government. We have spent the better part of the past three weeks finalising and resourcing structures to support and facilitate this rollout effort. This includes engagement at various levels of government to discuss and assess the current vaccine rollout plans and identify risks and omissions, while also indicating where best we can provide support.”
Tremendous progress has been made in a very short timeframe. Kingston added: “We have mobilised a B4SA team that - under the leadership of the National Departments of Health and Finance – is providing co-ordinated input on behalf of business to these processes. We also participate on the National COVID Vaccine Coordination Committee, which is led and chaired by the NDoH.”
B4SA, which was formed last year as an alliance of volunteers from South African business, has made progress on outlining the funding and other resource contributions that will be needed from business, including interfacing with the Solidarity Fund to collect and disburse the funds, where appropriate. Excellent progress has also been made on initiating the logistics and distribution arrangements, as well as plans to ensure the readiness of various facilities and institutions across the country to accept the vaccine, on arrival.
The bulk of this work is flowing through five B4SA workstreams:
1. Planning, integration and implementation, which reviews the overall vaccination strategy and coordination of PMO support.
2. Vaccine logistics, cold chain and distribution, which is developing a vaccine distribution plan for the public and private sector for use by Biovac and possible third-party distributors, and is progressing a supply chain risk plan to enable proactive risk mitigation.
3. Service delivery platforms and vaccine delivery readiness, which coordinates the establishment of vaccination sites and standard operating procedures.
4. Coordination of costing and funding, which is quantifying national funding requirements and assesses the timing of the funding needs, as well as flow of funds and payment mechanisms.
5. Communications, which supports the development and rollout of the communication strategy and participates in relevant government, civil society and labour communications forums.
Four supporting working groups are providing guidance and input across all B4SA and NDoH streams, as and when required:
1. Legal and regulatory, which is providing legal expertise across all workstreams.
2. Information systems, monitoring and evaluation is setting-up the required systems and multichannel platforms for the immunisation programme, and provides technical expertise and support to government’s vaccination systems.
3. Risk assurance, which pressure tests rollout plans and will set up a risk registry, while also advising government on mitigation strategies for key risks.
4. Public health, ‘pharmaco’ vigilance and disease surveillance, which will support the government in the tracking, detection, assessment, monitoring and prevention of adverse effects from vaccine inoculation.
Working closely with their relevant NDoH, Treasury and GCIS counterparts, each workstream is clear on the support required and their scope of work. There is also close interaction underway between the NDoH and Treasury to determine the funding support required, and approaches to mobilise donations while coordinating with the Solidarity Fund to manage the funds, where appropriate.
Governance structures are in place to ensure compliance in the interactions between the B4SA workstream and the respective government streams.
“There will be no end to the pandemic,” said Kingston, “nor the beginning of an economic recovery without a comprehensive, effective and urgent national vaccination programme. The cost of a vaccination programme is dwarfed by the human and economic cost of an unchecked COVID-19 pandemic. We have been repeatedly struck by the nation’s public spirit and commitment since the COVID-19 pandemic began and overwhelmed by the many hundreds of individuals and businesses offering support.”
B4SA is extremely grateful to the South African business sector and how it is mobilising its expertise and resources to work with government and all other stakeholders to support the national vaccine programme which, in time, will prove to be the light at the end of a long, dark tunnel.
Issued by Business for South Africa