Jean-Jacques Cornish

Stop the warra, warra and give me that second jab

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Full disclosure: I did a walk-in COVID vaccination. 

Waiting for the sms from the vaccine authority seems rather like standing in an orderly queue for a lifeboat on the Titanic. Admirable, but unwise.

Completing the process at the DisChem headquarters in Midrand took five hours.

Sure it was a Ben Hur, but without exception every Dischem employee I encountered – from the guard who showed us our place in the queue to director Stan Gates who walked into the “recovery room” to ask recipients how things were progressing  – was obviously bent on being helpful.

It was one of the seminal new South African experiences: along with the first democratic election in 1994 and hosting the Football Word Cup in 2010.

We were in this fight against COVID together, and determined to beat the lurgy.

On social media I learn that many friends have received their vaccine must quicker and more efficiently. Good luck, I say to them. We are in this fight together.

It seems that all of us now have to wait 42 days to get the second jab.

There is a bid to tell us this is the most efficacious application of the vaccine. I don’t believe it.

We are being made to wait so that more people can get the first dose of the limited supplies of  vaccine available.

Remember the people now telling us about the need to wait are the same people whe were telling us 14 months ago that we did not need masks because they were afraid we would gobble up the available masks to the detriment of the health workers.

So wait I will.

Not at all sure where I will go to get the second jab. It would be great to avoid the five-hour process at GenChem, even if this means missing another chance to see  my new-found pandemic friends.

Discovery boss Adrian Gore has written a letter saying members should try the sites being set up by his medical aid society.

He seems confident there will be enough Pfizer to dispense the second injections.

From his mouth to God’s ear!

President Cyril Ramaphosa just tightened a band of cold steel around my testicles – metaphorically speaking, of course – telling us that South Africa would chuck out two million does of Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

He’s blaming a contamination scare at its source in the the United States.

To his credit, Ramaphosa acted swiftly, decisively and courageously locking down South Africa early on in the pandemic.

However his government’s record in dispensing the vaccine this year as been less than impressive. Plainly speaking it has been marked by dithering and, by all accounts, corruption.

That is the antithesis of the British experience where Boris Johnson fiddled at the start of the pandemic, costing thousands of lives, but has done a sterling job of getting vaccine into Britons’ arms.

Could the G7 come to our aid?

At their summit in Cornwall last weekend, the leaders of Britain, France, the United States, Germany, Japan, Canada and Italy committed themselves to providing a billion doses of vaccine to poorer countries within the year.

Critics say this is a drop in the ocean for the developing world that needs at least ten times that amount.

We can talk about lifting the intellectually property rights to allow vaccine to be manufactured in South Africa, Senegal and other countries ready and able to do it.

If successful, that would be months away.

We need a quicker solution if we are to achieve the much vaunted herd mentality and avoid the plethora of variants to which we no longer may attach a national appellation.

Away with the political correctness and down with the blame game, I say with unashamed selfishness as I prepare to line up for my second dose.

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Jean-Jacques Cornish is a journalist and broadcaster who has been involved in the media all his adult life.

Starting as a reporter on his hometown newspaper, he moved briefly to then Rhodesia before returning to South Africa to become a parliamentary correspondent with the South African Press Association. He was sent to London as Sapa’s London editor and also served as special correspondent to the United Nations. He joined the then Argus group in London as political correspondent.

Returning to South Africa after 12 years abroad, he was assistant editor on the Pretoria News for a decade before becoming editor of the Star and SA Times for five years.

Since 1999 he’s been an independent journalist writing and broadcasting – mainly about Africa – for Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape
Talk, Radio France International, PressTV, Radio Live New Zealand, Business Day, Mail & Guardian, the BBC, Agence France Press,
Business in Africa, Leadership, India Today, the South African Institute for International Affairs and the Institute for Security Studies.

He has hosted current affairs talk shows on Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape Talk. He appears as an African affairs pundit on SABC Africa and CNBC Africa.
He lectured in contemporary studies to journalism students at the Tshwane University of Technology and the University of Pretoria.

He speaks on African affairs to corporate and other audiences.
He has been officially invited as a journalist to more than 30 countries. He was the winner of the 2007 SADC award for radio journalism.

He’s been a member of the EISA team observing elections in Somaliland, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Egypt and Tunsiai.

In October 2009 he headed a group of 39 African journalists to the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Peoples’ Republic of China.

In January 2010 he joined a rescue and paramedical team to earthquake struck Haiti.

He is immediate past president of the Alliance Francaise of Pretoria.

Jean-Jacques is a director of Giant Media. The company was given access to Nelson Mandela in his retirement years until 2009.
He is co-producer of the hour-long documentary Mandela at 90 that was broadcast on BBC in January 2009.