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S/Africa: Over 65% of frontline workers vaccinated – Ramaphosa

South Africa, still far from reaching its target of vaccinating 1.5 million healthcare workers with the coronavirus vaccine, has vaccinated…

South Africa, still far from reaching its target of vaccinating 1.5 million healthcare workers with the coronavirus vaccine, has vaccinated 67% of its frontline carers since the exercise was rolled out in February this year, APA learnt on Monday.President Cyril Ramaphosa said this when he addressed the nation on the developments concerning the country’s efforts to contain the pandemic using the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine to inject the healthcare workers first before moving on to the rest of the 59 million population – starting with citizens aged above 60 years.

According to Ramaphosa, the first phase of the vaccination programme saw the jabbing of nearly 480,000 healthcare workers to fortify them against the disease as they embarked on injecting the rest of the population with some measure of protection.

Following this achievement, two weeks ago the country started the second phase of the vaccination programme, targeting the remainder of the health workers using the double-dose Pfizer vaccine as the country awaited an additional supply of the depleted Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

“In total, over 960,000 people in South Africa have received one vaccine dose. Within the next few days, we will have administered vaccine doses to more than one million of the most vulnerable South Africans,” the president said.

He said since research shows that older people are at a far greater risk of severe Covid-19 illness and death, the government has prioritised the elderly for this second phase. 

“Over the last two weeks, over 480,000 people received the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine as part of the public vaccination campaign,” Ramaphosa said.

Since the Pfizer vaccine requires two doses to provide maximum immunity, South Africans would need to have a second dose at least 42 days after their first dose, he added.

South Africa has set up over 400 vaccination sites for operations nationwide in both public and private sectors to provide the injections, he said.

“As we have previously reported, we have secured enough vaccines to reach all adults in the country, which is around 40 million people. This includes 31 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine which will be manufactured here in South Africa,” Ramaphosa said. 

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