Under-35s in South Africa could register for Covid-19 shots by September
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South Africans under the age of 35 could begin to register for their Covid-19 vaccine around the middle of September, according to Deputy Director-General in the Department of Health Nicholas Crisp.
In an interview with eNCA on Monday evening, he said while there are millions of people still in the virtual vaccine queue, the roll-out could reach the under-35s age cohort within the next two months.
“Being speculative, the middle to end of September. But it depends very much if things continue to run as smoothly as they have picked up again after the recent period of violence,” he said.
Last week registrations opened for those aged between 35 and 49 and the Department of Health said this age cohort would be receiving their shots from August 1.
“We need to give them a bit of a chance to get that momentum going before we begin announcing a date for the next group,” he said.
Over 5.3 million South Africans have received a Covid-19 vaccine shot since the roll-out began in February with the country’s health-care workers.
Crisp said on Monday, over 223 000 people had received a shot, a record for the most in a 24-hour period. The previous record was 191 000 doses in one day.
“The numbers are moving very fast now and that's extremely encouraging. We are getting closer to the target President Cyril Ramaphosa set of 300 000 jabs a day,” he said.
Despite the recent violence in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, the vaccine roll-out has been gaining momentum.
“At the moment we are heading towards a million vaccinations every four days but we are gearing up to million vaccinations every three days. If we can sustain that between now and the end of the year we will pretty much be on top of things.”
Some vaccines were damaged during the looting, however Crisp said that these were mainly found in the private sector at pharmacies.
“Fortunately we did not lose a lot of our vaccines but we did lose a lot of opportunities to vaccinate people. We're just going to have to work harder to make this up.”