South Africa has secured 51 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine to ramp up its inocculation programme and expects to start the second phase of vaccinations next month. Health Minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize, confirmed this on Thursday.
Mkhize said 31 million of the doses would be provided by Johnson & Johnson and the rest by Pfizer. The Minister was speaking after his visit to Charlotte Maxeke hospital in Parktown and Soweto Home for the Aged to assess their vaccination readiness.
“We have now secured a combined 51 million doses of vaccine in the agreement that we have signed, 31 million from Johnson & Johnson, which is a one dose vaccine, and then 20 million from Pfizer, this is two dose vaccine,” Mkhize said.
“We have also got a letter that's indicated some vaccines coming from the Covax facility. At the moment they've already spoken about 1.25 million vaccines, and so this means now we can now move ahead with confidence as we finalize our plans for our mass rollout campaign,” said the minister.
South Africa has so far inocculated 278 909 health care workers.
“You will recall we said in the beginning that there are three phases: the first phase must take us three months so we started on the 17th of February so three months end on the 17th of May,” he said.
“ We wanted to move faster than that, but of course if we didn’t have this debacle with AstraZeneca vaccines we would have been able to move a bit faster,” Mkhize said.