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SA’s Phase 2 vaccine rollout explained

Published Mar 31, 2021


CAPE TOWN - Phase 2 of the vaccination rollout is expected to begin in May until October, President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced.

The country’s Phase 1 vaccination programme, which involves inoculating health workers, began in February following the suspension of an earlier plan to use the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.

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Phase 1 is currently being implemented over three months from February to April 2021, to target over 1.5 million healthcare workers countrywide.

Over 250 000 health workers have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to date as part of an implementation study.

The final inoculation phase targeting 22 million of the adult population is scheduled from November 2021 to February 2022 for all other residents.

Although the government has faced criticism over the slow pace in rolling out of vaccines, Ramaphosa is adamant that they will meet their vaccination targets.

Here’s what you need to know about the Phase 2 rollout in South Africa:

How will the Phase 2 rollout work?

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  • Registration to be vaccinated is scheduled to start in April.
  • People will be encouraged to register online, but those without online access will be able to register in person.
  • Phase 2 runs in two stages, targeting 14 million adults: from mid-May to end-July 2021, second stage will be from August to the end of October.
  • People with the highest risk of hospitalisation and death will be prioritised, such as people over 60 and people living with co-morbidities.
  • To ensure supporting infrastructure over 2,000 vaccination sites have been identified across the country.

How many vaccines have been secured?

Ramaphosa said the Aspen manufacturing plant in the Eastern Cape, which will be involved in producing the Johnson & Johnson vaccines, can produce 300 million doses a year and has been committed to Africa.

  • 11 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have already been secured.
  • An additional 20 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will also be heading to SA.
  • The SA government is also finalising a deal for 20 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine, which requires two doses.
  • The government is also in various stages of negotiations with the manufacturers of other vaccines such as Sinovac, Sinopharm and Sputnik V.

The role of private sector

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Ramaphosa also commended the private sector for their key supporting role in the national effort.

  • The Vodacom Group and Vodafone Foundation have pledged R87 million in the African countries in which they operate for cold chain storage and logistics so that Covid-19 vaccines are delivered securely.
  • Vodacom will be deploying a state-of-the-art vaccine management platform across the AU member states, following a successful rollout of the same platform in South Africa.

In order to achieve the desired outcomes, South Africa must vaccinate 250 000 to 300 000 people per day.

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