Just days after “temporarily” suspending its vaccination programme that used the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine, South Africa would secure the Russian-made Sputnik V vaccines and China’s Sinovac injections to add to its vaccination arsenal, APA learnt on Friday.According to Health Minister Zweli Mkhize, the J&J vaccine was suspended following announcement from the United States that it had also halted its use for now after six women in America had development blood clots in the brain, leading to the death of one them.
But during a local government by-election campaign rally, President Cyril Ramaphosa assured South Africans that Pretoria would secure the Russian and Chinese drugs to treat fellow compatriots against the Covid-19 pandemic.
The president, however, did not explain when these vaccines would be available to resume the temporarily halted nationwide vaccination programme that kicked off mid-February with the injection of health care workers first – before turning to the rest of the population groups.
Meanwhile, the government has officially launched the Covid-19 vaccine online registration for the public as the Ministry of Health geared up for phase two of the country’s vaccine rollout, Mkhize said.
According to the minister, the Electronic Vaccination Data System (EVDS) was now available to the general public, and all citizens aged 60 years and over were invited to register for the Covid-19 jab.
“This launch marks a significant milestone, not only for our vaccination campaign, but for South Africa’s advancement towards universal health coverage,” the minister said on Friday.
Mkhize said this was the first time in the country’s history that a major public health campaign would be supported by one digital system for all South Africans.
“The President, myself, hundreds of thousands of health care workers and now, you, the citizens of South Africa, have or will all access the vaccines through the same process by using this system,” he added.