Health Minister Dr. Zweli Mkhize says talks with vaccine manufacturers are progressing well and government is confident it will manage to secure the required number of vaccine doses to reach its goal of vaccinating 40 million people by the end of the year.
80 000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine landed at the OR Tambo International Airport last night and are being distributed across the country for frontline healthcare workers.
Mkhize and President Cyril Ramaphosa have both been vaccinated at the Khayelitsha District Hospital in the Western Cape.
— Dr Zweli Mkhize (@DrZweliMkhize) February 17, 2021
“We are expecting between now and the end of four weeks we should at least be able to reach about 500 000 doses that we should be able to receive. They will be coming in waves week by week. We will actually be vaccinating at the same time running an implementation study. We are going to continue the observations of all of those who will be vaccinated. We are anticipating also that there will be additional doses that will come from Pfizer within the next months. We are expecting about half a million of those doses by June. We have a commitment by Pfizer of about seven million doses.”
Minister Zweli Mkhize briefs the media about the rollout of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine:
Provinces prepare to begin the rollout of the vaccine
Provinces are preparing to rollout the vaccine. The Eastern Cape Health Department says it is prepared to begin the initial rollout campaign of the coronavirus vaccine to its health workers.
“We are expecting the vaccines today. They are going to Mthatha and Livingstone Hospital in NMB Metro. So we are ready. Where we have a slight concern is that we do not have a lot of health workers that have registered and received their confirmation vouchers for vaccination at their appointed sites. However, for the start of 2-3 days, we do have enough numbers at this point. As soon as this process starts, the increase in numbers will come,” says Acting Head of the Eastern Cape Health Department Dr. Sibongile Zungu.
Some concerns raised about the safety of the vaccine
Democratic Nursing Organisation (Denosa) has voiced cautious optimism over the rollout of the coronavirus vaccine saying several healthcare workers have expressed confusion over the safety of the vaccine.
“We have mixed feelings from our members – some are looking forward to it and some are still hesitant. We attribute that to a lot of information that still needs to get to them. It is important that healthcare workers get informed before they take the vaccine. So we are a bit worried about those who aren’t as sure at the moment because they need help with the information and it is up to them to make a decision. From our perspective, we want them to be safe,” says Denosa spokesperson Sibongiseni Delihlazo.