Internationally recognised South African singer, songwriter Yvonne Chaka Chaka poses for a portrait, 10 April 2019, before a Table Talk interview in Sandton, Johannesburg. Picture: Alaister Russell/The Sunday Times 

Veteran musician and humanitarian Yvonne Chaka Chaka stirred a fierce debate on social media after asking about the production of the Covid-19 vaccine.

This week the Umqombothi hitmaker shared on social media to question how the Covid-19 vaccine was being produced so quickly and why vaccines for HIV and malaria havent been provided.

“Vaccine, vaccine. We still don’t have one for malaria nor for HIV, but in few months we have one for Covid. Can someone tell me how possible is this?” she asked, tagging the World Health Organisation (WHO), UN, World Economic Forum and SA presidency.

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), a vaccine for malaria – RTS,S, known by the trade name Mosquirix – launched in 2015 was approved by the European Medicines Agency for active immunisation of children aged between six weeks and 17 months against malaria. However, due to its relatively low efficacy, WHO does not suggest the routine use of it.

Yvonne’s question comes from conspiracy theories in regards to vaccines that have stirred a global debate.

It also caused mixed reactions on social media, where many said they were disappointed by the question, given that Yvonne was a UN Goodwill Ambassador and married to a doctor.

In her defence, Yvonne said, “questions are asked because we all need to understand and be comfortable”.

Later this month SA is prepared to receive the first million doses of the vaccine.

Reported by the health minister Zweli Mkhize, the government is committed to rolling out vaccines with urgency to establish herd immunity against Covid-19.

He said the government arranged to make vaccines available to all South Africans, and it was aiming for 67% of the population in its strategy to establish herd immunity.

Mkhize said the rollout of vaccines would be done in three phases:

Phase 1 focuses on front-line health workers, with a target population of 1.25 million;
Phase 2 includes essential workers with a target population of 2.5 million, people older than 60 (five million), people older than 18 with co-morbidities (eight million) and people in congregate settings (1.1 million); and
Phase 3 aims to target other people older than 18, with a target population of 22.5 million.

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