COVID-19 vaccine Latest news in South Africa

The first batch of COVID-19 vaccines are headed for SA from India. Photo: Dirco

Another batch of J & J vaccines expected on Saturday

There are concerns over the pace at which the COVID-19 vaccines are being administered to healthcare workers in the country

COVID-19 vaccine Latest news in South Africa

The first batch of COVID-19 vaccines are headed for SA from India. Photo: Dirco

More batches of the Johnson and Johnson vaccines are set to arrive in South Africa on Saturday, 20 March 2021. This comes a week after the country received 40 000 doses of the vaccine.

So far more than 182 000 healthcare workers have been administered the Johnson and Johnson jab.

Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize had said they were aiming at having vaccinated at least 500 000 people by March, but at this point it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen. This poses a possible delay to the country’s vaccination rollout and by extension, our return to normalcy. Despite all this, government remains confident that it will reach the ultimate target of 40 million.

The rollout was one of the primary motivators behind President Cyril Ramaphosa’s decision to move the country to Level 1 of the lockdown.

The slow rate at which the vaccine is being administered is likely to continue drawing sharp criticism, including from the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and Democratic Alliance (DA). Other countries are way ahead in terms of jabs, with 27 million people in India having already received jabs.

South Africa hasn’t necessarily begun its rollout, mainly because the general public is yet to be vaccinated and the focus is now on healthcare workers. It does seem however, that government has managed to make strides in terms of acquiring the vaccines.

When will other COVID-19 vaccines arrive?

Zweli Mkhize has said that they were currently in the advanced stages of evaluating and engaging the manufacturers of the Sputnik-V vaccine from Russia. Talks are also underway with the manufacturers of the Moderna vaccine in the United States.

Government has also secured doses from Pfizer for the phase one vaccination rollout.

“Engagements with Sinopharm also continue with an offer made by China currently being considered. Meanwhile, we wish to remind fellow citizens that the mainstay of preventing COVID-19, until the country reaches population immunity,” Mkhize said.

South Africa is currently on Phase 1 of the vaccine rollout. Phase 2 will focus on essential workers, persons in congregate settings, persons over the age of 60 and persons with co-morbidities who are over the age of 18. Phase 3 will target approximately 22 500 000 South Africans, and will be administered to persons older than 18 years of age.