Health Minister, Dr. Zweli Mkhize, says government is working towards securing more COVID-19 vaccines for South Africa.
This comes after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the country will remain on the adjusted Level 3 of the national lockdown to further curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Ramaphosa says public gatherings have been prohibited across the country, except for funerals, which must be attended by a maximum of 50 people.
Mkhize outlines the upcoming rollout process for the vaccines: “The dates that we said we expect to get them are around January, that still stands and we believe it will be the beginning of the delivery of those batches. The first one is 1.5 [million] that is said to come in January and February. We are pushing to get as many other companies to offer their vaccines early because the real issue is not whether the companies have got the right vaccine or not, it’s whether they have it early, that is what they are pushing for.”
In the video below, Mkhize speaks about the COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout Strategy for South Africa
During his address on Monday night, Ramaphosa says one of government’s tasks is to achieve immunity across our population through a massive programme of vaccination.
He says the development of several effective vaccines is the most significant and most promising advance since the onset of the global pandemic.
“We have always said that an effective vaccine will be a game-changer. Vaccines offer to the people of the world a means to control the coronavirus pandemic. A person who is vaccinated has a much-reduced chance of becoming ill and dying from COVID-19.”
Ramaphosa says, “When enough people are vaccinated, we will reach what is known as ‘herd immunity’ or ‘population immunity’. This is when enough of the population is immune to the virus to provide indirect protection to those who aren’t immune, bringing the spread of the virus under control. While the actual level needed for herd immunity is not known, our scientists estimate that we will likely reach herd immunity once around 67 percent of our population are immune.”
- Phase 1 will prioritise around 1.2 million front line health workers.
- Phase 2 will prioritise essential workers such as teachers, police, municipal workers, and other frontline personnel. Institutions like old age homes, shelters, and prisons, people over 60 years of age, and adults with co-morbidities will also be prioritised. The total number of people expected to be reached in this phase is around 16 million people.
- Phase 3 will then vaccinate the remaining adult population of approximately 22.5 million people.
EXPLAINER VIDEO: COVID-19 vaccines South Africa is considering for rollout: