Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize says government is planning to vaccinate 80 000 healthcare workers against COVID-19 with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine over the next two weeks.
The 80 000 doses are expected in the country today with the first inoculations due to start as early as tomorrow.
Mkhize says 20 vaccination centres have been identified across the country.
More than 160 vaccinators will be deployed who will each inoculate approximately 48 people a day.
Mkhize confirmed that an additional 500 000 doses of the J&J vaccine has been secured and are expected to arrive in the country over the next four weeks.
An additional 500,000 doses are expected to arrive over the next four weeks, supplemented by another 20 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine that is expected to be received at the end of March 2021.
— Dr Zweli Mkhize (@DrZweliMkhize) February 16, 2021
This will be supplemented by 20 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
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SA asks India to take back one-million AstraZeneca vaccine doses
South Africa has asked the Serum Institute of India to take back the one-million COVID-19 vaccine doses the company had sent earlier this month.
The decision comes after the government put on hold the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine doses in its vaccination programme.
AstraZeneca says its vaccine appears to offer limited protection against mild disease that the South African variant of the coronavirus causes.
This is based on data from a study by South Africa’s University of the Witwatersrand and Oxford University in the UK.
Another 500 000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine were due to arrive in South Africa in the next few weeks.
The institute is not immediately available for comment.
Union says healthcare workers have lost faith in SA’s handling of vaccine
The Young Nurses Indaba Trade Union (YNITU) says there is a lack of enthusiasm among healthcare workers ahead of the arrival of the Johnson and Johnson vaccines in the country.
YNITU’s Lerato Mthunzi says they feel the government does not have a clear-cut plan for the roll-out of the vaccine.
Mthunzi says, “The healthcare workers have lost trust in the government. The AstraZeneca is just but one of the incidents that show that our government does not plan appropriately for whatever role that they have and the decisions that they make are hasty and even just this convenient switch to Johnson and Johnson after discovering the AstraZeneca will be expiring in April is just but too convenient.”