A health official shows a bottle with a dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. File picture: Dinuka Liyanawatte/Reuters
A health official shows a bottle with a dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. File picture: Dinuka Liyanawatte/Reuters

SA could meet Covid-19 vaccine target and produce own vaccines – Ramaphosa

By Kelly Jane Turner Time of article published Jul 11, 2021

Share this article:

Cape Town - South Africa is on track to procure enough Covid-19 vaccines to meet its vaccination target of 40 million people by February and could locally produce its own vaccines, President Cyril Ramaphosa said during a national address on Sunday.

Ramaphosa said that several developments with manufacturers could mean the country will have a sufficient “pipeline of vaccine supplies”.

The target is to vaccinate 67% of the population by February, in order to achieve population immunity.

In a historic agreement with the AU and EU, Aspen will be delivering over 17 million Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses to South Africa and other African countries over the next three months, starting from the end of July, the president said.

Ramaphosa said this number of doses will double monthly from October.

J&J have committed to adapt the current arrangement so that South Africa can produce the vaccine locally under licence rather than under contract.

This will result in South Africa and the African continent having control over the vaccines.

“We are negotiating that in time the drug substance itself would be produced here in South Africa, so that we have a fully-owned African vaccine manufactured on African soil in a number of countries on our continent,” said Ramaphosa.

The president also welcomed the announcement of US President Joe Biden that America is donating 15-20 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine to African countries through the COVAX facility.

Over 4.2 million South Africans have received a Covid-19 vaccine dose since the start of the roll-out in February and the roll-out is picking up pace with one million of these having been done over the past seven week days.

Ramaphosa said that the pace of vaccination has more than doubled in the last month with nearly 190 000 people on average being vaccinated daily.

The vaccine roll-out first kicked off in February with the nation’s healthcare workers, then in May it expanded to the over 60s cohort, the education sector workers in June, the over 50s category and police in July, and from August, those over the age of 35 will be able to receive their shots.

“The Department of Health is also working with the private sector to implement workplace vaccination programmes that can expand our capacity beyond public sites. We are working to ensure that vaccination sites are located closer to where people live to make it easier for them,” said Ramaphosa.

The president said plans were in place in all provinces to expand many sites to vaccinate either six or seven days of the week.

This will be achieved by the provision of funds for overtime and the recruitment of additional medical staff and health science students, Ramaphosa said.

“All those who qualify for vaccination are encouraged to pre-register to speed up the process at vaccination sites. However, all sites do also allow unregistered people to walk in and be registered.

“I want to encourage all South Africans who are eligible to register to do so and get their vaccine. We need to spread the message that vaccines work and that they are effective.”

In his address on Sunday, Ramaphosa announced that the level 4 lockdown would be extended for 14 days as infections remain extremely high with over 200 000 active Covid-19 cases at present

“With the fast-spreading Delta variant, we are experiencing a third wave that is more severe than the first and second waves.

“For the last two weeks, the country has consistently recorded an average of nearly 20 000 daily new cases. At present, the country has over 200 000 active Covid-19 cases.

“In the last two weeks over 4,200 South Africans have lost their lives to COVID-19.

“While Gauteng accounts for more than half of new infections, infections are rapidly increasing in the Western Cape, Limpopo, North West, KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga.

“Our health system countrywide remains under pressure,"”the president said.

[email protected]

* Register for the Covid-19 vaccine here.

Share this article: