Healthcare workers to be vaccinated after two weeks

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It will be another two weeks before the country’s front line healthcare workers start receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

On Monday, one million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine landed at OR Tambo International Airport from India, with a few samples being sent to the National Control Laboratory (NCL) in Bloemfontein.

The NCL will test if all the ingredients specified are contained in the drugs received, this needs to be approved before the COVID-19 inoculation programme can be rolled out nationally.

President Cyril Ramaphosa accompanied by his Deputy David Mabuza, and Health Minister, Zweli Mkhize, braved the unrelenting rain to personally receive South Africa’s first consignment of COVID-19 vaccines.

South Africa’s vaccine rollout strategy:

The one million doses were procured from AstraZeneca through the Serum Institute in India.

From the airport, the drugs were transported in refrigerated trucks to the BioVac Warehouses in Johannesburg.

Mkhize says, “The rest of the consignment will remain refrigerated in the BioVac warehouses awaiting distribution. The doses will be stored in three separate stockpiles as part of risk storage management. Once the vaccine has been cleared, BioVac will facilitate distribution to provinces according to the order list submitted by the Health Department.

“Frontline health workers are the primary targets for this first round of vaccinations…” added Mkhize.

Ramaphosa took the opportunity when addressing the nation to quell fears that the COVID-19 vaccinations would be compulsory for all citizens.

He also announced that a further 12 million vaccines have been secured via the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) COVAX facility and an agreement with Johnson & Johnson will give South Africa an additional 9 million doses.