SA secures millions of Pfizer, J&J vaccine doses to fight COVID variant - Ramaphosa
South Africa has secured millions of doses of Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer vaccines to fight the highly infectious Covid-19 variant that is dominant in the country, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Thursday.
During an annual state of the nation address, Ramaphosa said South Africa has secured 9 million doses of the J&J vaccine, of which 500,000 would arrived next week so authorities could start vaccinating health workers. Another 20 million Pfizer doses were also on their way, he said.
In addition, the World Health organisation-backed COVAX facility would provide 12 million vaccine doses, Ramaphosa said.
South Africa has been hit doubly hard by a second wave of Covid-19, driven by a new coronavirus variant first discovered in the Eastern Cape, called 501Y.V2 and believed to be 50% more contagious than earlier versions of the coronavirus.
Nearly 1.5 million people have been infected since the pandemic began and more than 47,000 have been killed, and Ramaphosa said the economy had shrunk by 6%, while joblessness had soared to new records.