Covid-19 vaccines to arrive in SA on Monday

Picture Jessica Amdur

Picture Jessica Amdur

Published Jan 27, 2021


CAPE TOWN - Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has announced that the first Covid-19 vaccines will arrive in South Africa on Monday.

Mkhize made the announcement during a live briefing on the countries vaccines roll out strategy on Wednesday evening.

"One million vaccine doses are scheduled to leave India on Sunday, 31 January and is scheduled to arrive on Monday, 01 February 2020," said Mkhize

A flight with the vaccines will depart India on Sunday.

The AstraZeneca shots are being produced by the Serum Institute of India (SII) and are destined for the country's frontline healthcare workers.

Mkhize said after their arrival, the vaccine doses would be subject to technical processes including quality assurance over a minimum of 10 days and a maximum of 14 days. After that, the doses can be distributed to all provinces, he added.

“It’s a massive achievement to get our first batch of vaccines less than a year after the outbreak of the pandemic in South Africa,” said Mkhize.

The country plans to vaccinate 67% of the population, roughly 40 million people in order to achieve population immunity.

There will be a three-phased approach based on the availability of vaccines:

– Phase one: target a population of 1.25 million; front-line healthcare workers (HCW) would be first in line.

– Phase two: target population of 2 500 000: this would include police officers, miners and workers in the security, retail food, funeral, teachers, banking, essential municipal workers and home affairs, border control and port health services.

– Phase two: target population of 1 100 000: this includes people in care homes, 60 years and older, people older than 18 years with co-morbidities, detention centres, shelters and prisons. In addition, people working in the hospitality and tourism industry, and educational institutions.

– Phase three: target population of 22 500 000 – from the rest of the population.

A further 500 000 doses is expected from the SII in February, also for healthcare workers.

Later in the year, around 12 million doses are expected from the COVAX global vaccine distribution scheme, co-led by the World Health Organization, another 12 million from an African Union arrangement, and 9 million from Johnson & Johnson .

IOL and Reuters