Covid-19 vaccines flowing into SA in July
More than one million doses of J&J Covid-19 vaccine landed in SA on Thursday night and another half a million doses are on the way, acting health minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane said on Friday.
The delivery of 1.2m doses must be used up by August 11 and will be used to vaccinate teachers and priority front-line workers. “We are on track to utilise these doses,” she said.
The vaccination of teachers started on Wednesday and nearly 50,000 doses a day are going into their arms.
The acting minister said SA was “waiting for confirmation of another 500,000 doses” of the J&J vaccine.
Pfizer has delivered nearly 4.5m Covid-19 vaccine doses in the second quarter to June, as promised, and has committed to deliver another 2.1m next month.
Kubayi-Ngubane said Pfizer had committed to deliver 15.5m doses in July.
“With this flow of vaccines we will be able to press ahead with the vaccination of front-line workers, sector by sector.
“I want to confirm that we will move on to workplace vaccinations, in the formal and informal sectors like the taxi industry, and we will take guidance on which to prioritise until all workplace vaccinations are completed,” said the acting health minister.
SA is running “three major parallel streams” for the national vaccine rollout which started six weeks ago on May 17. From now it will be targeting people older than 60, educators and essential workers in key economic sectors.
Deputy director-general Nicholas Crisp said: “The objective of the vaccination is twofold: one is to prevent severe illness and decongest patients going into hospitals and, two, to achieve herd immunity: to get enough people vaccinated and immune to not have the spread of the virus.”
He said the Pfizer pipeline was stable but the J&J pipeline, looking ahead, was yet to be confirmed.
From July 1, SA is opening up vaccine registration to citizens 50 to 59 years old, and these inoculations will begin from July 15.