The Department of Health in the North West has warned residents to not accept any alleged COVID-19 vaccine drive in the communities.
The department said it has received numerous complaints from members of the community about people who claim to be contracted to government to administer COVID-19 vaccine.
Health department spokesperson, Tebogo Lekgethwane, said there is currently no COVID-19 vaccine available in the country.
“As far as the department is aware, there is currently no vaccine for COVID-19. The 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. The department held a meeting with field workers of an organization by the name of Epic Center who are alleged to be responsible for conducting such a vaccination drive. The field workers deny being conducting any COVID-19 vaccinations, but indicated that they are rather conducting the National COVID-19 antibody study. The National COVID-19 antibody study is commissioned by the National Department of Health, but it has nothing to do with COVID-19 vaccination,” Lekgethwane said.
He said the North West provincial health department was concerned that it was never informed that the antibody study would be conducted in the province.
“The North West Department of Health 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 organization will first come to report to the provincial office and the provincial office will inform the districts who must then inform all affected stakeholders.
“Protocol will also be preceded by a public communication to make communities aware of any particular study or campaign. In light of this development, the department has instructed the supervisor of the study to recall all their field workers from all our districts until the proper protocols are followed," said Lekgethwane.
He added that members of the public are advised that the study is voluntary and not compulsory.
"No one should be coerced or forced to participate in the study,” the departmental spokesperson said.
The department said it will announce once all protocols have been met to allow the National Antibody Study to proceed again.