Acting Health Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane says from Thursday next week people aged from 35 to 49 are eligible to register to be vaccinated.

Kubayi-Ngubane was speaking in a virtual media briefing on the progress of government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and the national vaccination rollout programme.

She says the target is to start to vaccinate these age groups at the beginning of next month.

Kubayi-Ngubane has again stressed her concerns on the rising numbers of infections from the coronavirus and deaths from COVID-19.

According to her, as many people as possible should be vaccinated.

“We are ramping our vaccination rollout programme so that the vaccine can reach the majority of our population so that more people can be protected from this devastating impact of the COVID-19 virus. Overall vaccination, we are also happy to announce that we have surpassed four million people who have received their vaccines across the country. This is one of the milestones and though we note that many people are saying it is not yet enough comparing with the percentage of the population is still a bit of a challenge.”

Lambda coronavirus variant

Kubayi-Ngubane has refuted claims that the lambda coronavirus variant has been detected in South Africa.

She says local scientists are monitoring any new developing coronavirus variants in South Africa.

Kubayi-Ngubane says current vaccines in the country are able to deal with Delta variant.

“Scientists have discovered that there is a new variant that is even more transmissible that is spreading in different parts of the world. This new variant is called lambda variant. By June 2021, the lambda variant had begun to spread through south America. Now it has been discovered in more than 30 countries. Contrary to the false reports I saw the lambda variant has not been picked up as yet by our scientists in the country.”

Kubayi-Ngubane briefed the media on Friday morning: