A consignment of over 325 000 Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine doses is expected to arrive at OR Tambo International Airport later Sunday evening in South Africa.

The health department says batches of the same number of doses will arrive weekly for the month of May with a total number of 1.3 million doses expected at the end of the month accumulating to 4.5 million doses at the end of June.

The health department says from June the batches of Pfizer will increase to an average of 636 000 doses weekly.

Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize says, “Upon arrival, the entire batch will be transported initially to a central warehouse. Samples will be sent to the National Control Laboratory for quality assurance and, after release, will be distributed to the provinces.”

Meanwhile, Johnson & Johnson says it will be ready to dispatch its vaccines from Gqeberha from mid-May. This after a prolonged approval process from South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA).

The authority is still analysing the Sinovac and Sputnik vaccines from China and Russia, respectively.

The department has encouraged all health workers including traditional healers to register to be vaccinated.

Persons over the age of 60 have also been requested to register on the vaccine portal.

Samples will be sent to the National Control Laboratory for quality assurance before they are distributed to vaccination sites later this month.

It is expected that the first batch of the two-dose jab will be rolled out to healthcare workers who haven’t received the Johnson and Johnson yet.

Phase 2 of the vaccination programme will be launched on 17 May, initially targeting people over 60 years of age.

Preparations for national vaccine rollout:

“We are confident that the final outcome will be positive and that, provided there are
no further disruptions, Johnson and Johnson will be in a position to release the stock
from the Aspen plant in Gqeberha by the middle of May. The stock is currently finished and ready for dispatch,” Mkhize adds.

COVID-19 vaccine rollouts tracker in African countries: