WATCH LIVE | President Ramaphosa receives first shipment of Covid-19 vaccine

01 February 2021 - 15:41
By isaac mahlangu AND Isaac Mahlangu

An Emirates Airline plane landed at OR Tambo International Airport on Monday delivering the much-awaited 1m doses of the Covid-19 vaccine from India, via  Dubai, to SA.

There was a high police and security presence at the airport and in surrounding areas when the plane carrying the doses of Astra-Zeneca's Covid-19 vaccine known as Covishield touched down just after 3pm.

 Another 500,000 doses are expected later this month.

President Cyril Ramaphosa, his deputy David Mabuza and health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize were at the airport to officially receive the  vaccine that marks the first milestone in SA's fight against the  global pandemic.

"We are quite excited that we have the first million (batches) coming. We would have loved to have them earlier," Mkhize told SABC TV from OR Tambo Airport.

The vaccine arrived with SA having recorded 4,525 new cases of infections in 24 hours by yesterday. A total of 44,164 people have succumbed to the disease. Infections from the pandemic in the country have since surged above 1.4m.

 SA  plans to inoculate at least 67% of its adult population, starting with frontline health-care workers in about two weeks.

There were reports at the weekend that SA has also secured a further 20m doses of vaccine from pharmaceutical company Pfizer.