Mkhize optimistic Covid-19 population immunity will be reached as planned
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DURBAN - Health Minister Zweli Mkhize says if all the vaccines are delivered as agreed by manufacturers, 46.2 million South Africans will be vaccinated by March next year.
Mkhize was speaking during a nationwide tour to assess the readiness of provinces to roll out the vaccines at the rate required to achieve population immunity by the first quarter in 2022.
“The mass vaccination campaign, due to begin officially on May 17 2021, is soon upon us and represents hope for our nation after the social, economic and psychological carnage left by Covid-19.”
Mkhize said based on the schedule, provided that vaccines committed by manufacturers are delivered, 46.2 million people would be vaccinated to achieve population immunity.
The expected quarterly delivery schedule stands as follows:
“This tally excludes the 500 000 that will be vaccinated under the Sisonke Protocol.”
He said the department was also hopeful that Covax would be able to deliver 1.2 million doses this quarter.
The minister also sent a word of appreciation to the over 340 000 senior citizens who had already registered on the electronic vaccination data system (EVDS) as at 6pm on Monday night.
“We call on all South Africans to assist their friends, family and neighbours who are 60 years and older to register on the EVDS.
The portal can be accessed online at vaccine.enroll.health.gov.za
Mkhize has already toured three provinces – Gauteng, the Eastern Cape and Western Cape – and said he is satisfied that the requirements for the next phase of the vaccination roll-out are understood.
“[These provinces] understand the requirements and have the inclination to rise to the occasion.”
The SABC reported that during his visit to Cape Town on Monday, Mkhize said he would soon make an announcement about the resumption of the Johnson & Johnson vaccination roll-out.
This follows the temporary suspension last week of the vaccine, which is being administered to health-care workers under the Sisonke Phase 3B Implementation Study, when six US women developed a rare blood-clotting disorder after taking the vaccine.
The Mercury reported on Monday that the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority has recommended the lifting of the suspension with conditions.
Based on the latest Covid-19 report issued on Monday, the cumulative number of cases in South Africa stands at over 1.57 million, while over 53 000 people have died.