Health Minister Zweli Mkhize says it could take up to two weeks for the coronavirus vaccines to be distributed after their arrival in South Africa.

The first one million doses of the vaccine from the Serum Institute in India are due to arrive at OR Tambo International Airport on Monday.

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize says it could take up to two weeks for the coronavirus vaccines to be distributed after their arrival in South Africa.

Healthcare workers will receive the vaccine first after which the rollout to the rest of the population will continue in phases.

Government hopes to vaccinate 40 million people by the end of the year to achieve herd immunity against the virus.

Mkhize says once the vaccines arrive, they will go through a process of quality assurance before they are distributed:

“After the arrival of the vaccine they will undergo some technical processes which includes checking to see if how many vials are there and if any of them are broken they will be sent back. Strict measures will be in place when it comes to handling the vaccines. The rollout of the vaccines will be implemented efficiently and safely.These processes will take a minimum of 10 days and a maximum of 14 days to complete upon which we will then be ready to distribute the vaccine to all the provinces.”

Meanwhile, healthcare workers will have to make use of an online platform to apply to receive their coronavirus vaccines.

Health Policy Coordination and Integrated Planning Chief Director, Milani Wolmarans explains the vaccine application process for healthcare workers:

“All healthcare workers, public, private, clinical, non clinical should register online. That would allow us to communicate with you as to when and where you can receive your vaccine. There will be communication to inform all healthcare workers through different platforms. And some of these we have started populating on social media, employers as well as the labour unions.”