South Africa is making great progress in its six-week coronavirus vaccination programme whose main goal is to vaccinate 41 million people as part of its goal to reach herd immunity among the country’s 50-million population, President Cyril Ramaphosa has told the nation.“Our national vaccination programme has commenced and is gaining momentum,” the president said Tuesday evening during a national address on the developments in the country’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Ramaphosa said that his government had established an electronic vaccination data system to manage the vaccine rollout and direct South Africans towards vaccination sites closest to their homes.
With 54 medical sites currently operating as vaccination venues, the plan is to extend this to 2,000 such sites nationwide for the Covid-19 inoculations, he said.
Ramaphosa said: “This electronic vaccination data system will allow you to register, receive an appointment date and site, and receive a digital certificate or a hard copy confirming your vaccination status once vaccinated.”
The country began its vaccination programme in mid-February, with Phase 1 focusing on inoculating 1.5 million health workers, he said.
“This phase is on track to be completed within three months. More than 250,000 health workers have to date received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as part of the programme,” he said.
The president said the country had secured 11 million doses of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which is known to be effective against the dominant variants in the country.
“We have secured a further 20 million doses and are finalising the agreement with Johnson & Johnson. We are also finalising an agreement for 20 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine, which requires two doses.
“Together, this supply of vaccines will provide us with enough doses to vaccinate 41 million people” to achieve a herd immunity against the coronavirus pandemic, he said.