- Johann Rupert, the South African billionaire and fifth richest person in Africa, has received the Covid-19 vaccine
- Rupert was reportedly vaccinated in Switzerland at a hospital group owned by Mediclinic before the country's official rollout of the vaccine began
- Swiss politicians have expressed outrage at the billionaire jumping the queue and have called for an investigation
South African billionaire Johann Rupert has received the vaccine for Covid-19 at a hospital in Switzerland.
According to a report by Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger and a subsequent report by BusinessInsider.com, Rupert flew to Switzerland in December seeking the vaccine.
The country's official rollout for vaccinations was not until mid-January, which meant that Rupert received preferential treatment and Swiss politicians are asking for an investigation.
The article in the Swiss publication Tages-Anzeiger also notes that Rupert received the vaccination before the official rollout and is also 70 years of age, where the requirement to register for the vaccine is to be 75 and older.
The hospital where the billionaire was vaccinated is owned by the Hirslanden hospital group, which is owned by Mediclinic. Rupert is the chairperson of a company called Remgro and Remgro has a 45% stake in Mediclinic.
According to BusinessInsider.com, Hirslanden confirmed that Rupert had received the vaccine and that he had pre-existing conditions which exempted him from the age requirement.
Hirslanden also stated that it had permission to vaccinate "test subjects of their choice" prior to the country's official vaccine rollout and Rupert was one of 12 of them.
Swiss politicians are reportedly outraged at the preferential treatment of a foreign billionaire being able to jump the queue to the vaccine and are calling for an investigation.
The President of the Social Democratic Party of Thurgau, Nina Schläfli, told Tages-Anzeiger that it was an "affront" to the citizens who lived there:
“A billionaire could fly in and everyone else would have to stand behind in the queue? It is inconceivable to prefer someone like that."
In other vaccine-related news, Briefly.co.za reported on a fire breaking out at the Serum Institute of India which is currently the world's largest vaccine production site.
The Serum Institute of India is currently the site that produces the greatest number of vaccines worldwide and a fire recently broke out in one of the buildings.
Footage from the incident shows thick smoke billowing out of windows near the top floors of the Institute where millions of doses of the Covishield vaccine, developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, are being produced.
Thankfully, sources have confirmed that the production of the Covid-19 vaccine was unaffected by the fire.
However, the Chairman and Managing Director of the Institute Cyrus Poonawalla did confirm in a statement that there were workers who tragically lost their lives in the blaze.
Photos show the building ablaze, firefighters spraying the building and personnel being evacuated from the premises, but the statement confirms both the safety of the Covid-19 production and, regrettably, the loss of life from the fire.
In vaccine-related news, Briefly.co.za previously reported on President Cyril Ramaphosa assuring South African citizens that the government will procure a sufficient number of vaccines to combat the ongoing Covid-19 crisis. President Cyril Ramaphosa has done his best to reassure South Africans that enough Covid-19 vaccines will be procured amid the continuing pandemic.
The nation's leader has also assured it that money will not serve as an issue in this process. In addition to this, Ramaphosa has confirmed that an inter-ministerial committee has been established to overlook the distribution of the vaccinations:
"The vaccine is going to be a major boost to our efforts in fighting COVID-19, some people have raised issues about the financing thereof and financing is not going to be a problem because we will be able to pay for these vaccines as we order them."
Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize recently announced that 1 million doses of the vaccine will be released in January with another 500 000 released next month.
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