South Africa secures Covid-19 vaccine for healthcare workers
On Thursday, Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize announced that the first shipment of the Covid-19 vaccine will reach our shores as early as January.
South Africa gets Covid-19 vaccine sooner than expected
In his press briefing, the minister revealed that the non-disclosure agreement between the South African government and the Serum Institute of India (SII) has been lifted and we can now be privy to certain details of the deal.
“At the time I could not disclose further details. Today, I am pleased to announce that the Serum Institute of India (SII) has given us permission to make a public announcement and start engaging with all relevant stakeholders in preparation for the roll out,” Mkhize said.
Mkhize further revealed that the SII has committed to shipping 1.5 million doses of the vaccine between January and February, a welcomed announcement that officially kickstarts South Africa’s three-phased strategy.
Here’s how the vaccine will be distributed in South Africa
In a briefing earlier this week, the health minister had unveiled the government’s vaccine strategy that is divided into three phases. The aim is not to shoot every living South African citizen up. That would be a costly affair and more importantly, at least half of the nation is against the idea.
Therefore, South Africa hopes to achieve herd immunity by immunizing two-thirds of the population, or 67%.
At the front of the line are healthcare workers, who make up about 1.25 million of the population. Mkhize further reiterated that the shipment arriving in the next couple of weeks will be reserved for this group.
“We have estimated 1.25 million health care workers both from public and private to be prioritised… We will now be engaging all relevant stakeholders in order to ensure the efficient and effective roll out of the vaccine for our health workers,” he said
More doses on the way, Mkhize says
With 57% of the population still awaiting the vaccine, the health minister urged the public to be patient, as negotiations continue with other manufacturers.
“We therefore call on all South Africans, members of the public, political parties, business, labour, NGOs and community leaders and members to work with us as we start this historic process,” the statement concluded.
At the time this article was published, these were the latest Covid-19 statistics:
#COVID19 UPDATE: In the last 24 hours, a total of 70 060 tests were conducted with 21 832 new cases, representing a 31% positivity rate. We report 844 more #COVID19 related deaths, bringing total deaths to date to 31 368. To read more, click here: https://t.co/lH2YaXzwen pic.twitter.com/atcoXIOIec— NICD (@nicd_sa) January 6, 2021