Dr Zweli Mkhize and President Cyril Ramaphosa seen with the consignment of AstraZeneca vaccines that arrived in South Africa yesterday. Picture: Dr Zweli Mkhize/Twitter
Dr Zweli Mkhize and President Cyril Ramaphosa seen with the consignment of AstraZeneca vaccines that arrived in South Africa yesterday. Picture: Dr Zweli Mkhize/Twitter

Covid-19 vaccine has arrived, what happens next?

By Se-Anne Rall Time of article published Feb 1, 2021

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Durban – President Cyril Ramaphosa, Deputy President David Mabuza and Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize took delivery of a consignment of one million AstraZeneca vaccines yesterday.

The medication arrived via aeroplane and healthcare workers are expected to be the first in line to roll up their sleeves. But what happens next?

According to Health deputy director-general Dr Anban Pillay, the vaccines will be taken into cold storage. He was speaking during an interview with the SABC on what will happen next.

Pillay said samples of the vaccine have to be taken to the National Control Laboratory, where various tests would be conducted to confirm the quality of the product and that the cold chain has been maintained.

“Once they are happy that the product has not been affected by the transit process from India to here (South Africa), they will then give us the go-ahead to release the product.

“We have agreed with the provinces as well as the private health sector on the quantities of vaccines that we will distribute to each sector. The (bio-pharmaceutical company) Biovac will then start distributing to each province," Pillay said.

He added that the provinces would take their stock and start the vaccination process.

Dr Zweli Mkhize, David Mabuza and President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Dr Zweli Mkhize/Twitter

He said each province had its own plan on when to start and how the process will be moved along and they would ensure that health-care workers were vaccinated.

The vaccines arrived at the OR Tambo International Airport just after 3pm. Bio-pharmaceutical company Biovac has been appointed for three months to provide storage and distribution services for vaccines to inoculate front-line health-care workers.

According to the head of the Centre for Vaccines and Immunology at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases, Dr Melinda Suchard, only trained vaccinators whose scope of practice allows vaccination – such as nurses, doctors and pharmacists – may administer the vaccine.

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