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S/Africa: Over 550,000 health workers vaccinated – Minister

South Africa has vaccinated 558,770 healthcare workers since its coronavirus vaccination programme started in February, with the latest 77,505 people…

South Africa has vaccinated 558,770 healthcare workers since its coronavirus vaccination programme started in February, with the latest 77,505 people receiving their jab during the second phase of the campaign which kicked off this week, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said on Thursday.Having run out of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and the campaign facing a tough battle in the field with the arrival in the country of the Indian variant of the virus, the country logged in 3,500 new Covid-19 infections between Wednesday and Thursday, the minister said.

Some 167 people succumbed to the respiratory disease during the same 24-hour period, bringing the death toll to 55,507 since the pandemic started in the country, Mkhize said, noting that some 1,621,362 Covid-19 cases have been recorded since March 2020.

The second phase has seen the health authorities open up the vaccination programme to those over 60 years old as the target of injecting 1.5 million healthcare workers continued with the new double-dose Pfizer drug as the authorities continued to finalise the procuring of the single-dose Johnson and Johnson in this week, he added.

“The cumulative Covid-19 recoveries now stand at 1,528,868 people, representing a recovery rate of 94.2%,” the minister said, adding that South Africa has 36,987 active coronavirus cases.

Some 11, 207,305 tests have been conducted so far during the pandemic, he noted.

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