Ramaphosa announces new J&J deal that will see SA get 30 million Covid-19 vaccines

By Rudolph Nkgadima Time of article published Mar 29, 2021

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Cape Town - President Cyril Ramaphosa says South Africa will now have access to 30 million Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccines, while over 200 million doses will be produced for Africa.

Ramaphosa said the J&J signed off on the deal with Aspen as late as yesterday.

The vaccines will be manufactured at the Aspen facility in the Eastern Cape. Ramaphosa says the first few J&J vaccines will come out of the facility in the coming weeks.

“Availability is a challenge that all countries in the world are going through. A number of countries in Africa thought that they would start earlier, but availability is a major challenge.

“And part of the reason why we have come here is to ensure we speed up the process of the availability of our vaccines,” he said.

The president also said that from April we should see an acceleration in the rollout of vaccines throughout the country.

Earlier in the day, Ramaphosa led a government delegation on an oversight visit to the company's new sterile facility.

Ramaphosa has also defended his administration's slow pace in getting the Covid-19 vaccine to everyone, saying he doesn't feel "losing a bit of time is failing" in his books.

He says his ministers have red eyes from working around the clock to get the J&J jabs rolled out.

“What we are focusing on is acquiring vaccines so that we can save lives. The slow pace of rollout is given rise to by the challenge of availability of vaccines confronting countries around the world.

We have come here to ensure we can speed up the process,” he said.

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