Second phase of vaccination rollout to start in May, assures Mkhize

Second phase of vaccination rollout to start in May, assures Mkhize

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has assured South Africans that phase two of the vaccine rollout will begin in May. 

Zweli Mkhize at Charlotte Maxeke Hospital

Mkhize was briefing the media in Soweto following his inspection on the readiness of vaccination sites in Gauteng on Thursday. 

As of Wednesday, 278 909 health workers have been vaccinated under the Sisonke programme. 

“We have put most of the stages of deal making with Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson behind us. We have now secured a combined 51 million doses of vaccines in the agreements that have been signed,” he said.

“Thirty-one million from J&J, which is a one dose vaccine, and 20 million from Pfizer which is a two dose vaccine. We also have a letter that indicated that some vaccines will come from the Covax facility and at the moment they are speaking about 1.25 million doses. This means we can now move ahead with confidence as we finalise our plans for the mass rollout.”

He said the delay in the delivery of the J&J vaccine, under the Siskonke project for health workers, has been caused by a number of factors on the manufacturing side. 

Mkhize said they are in no position to force manufacturers to speed up the process, but confirmed that the last batch of 200 000 vaccines under this leg will be delivered on Monday. 

He said J&J has assured them it will deliver over 1 million doses by April 22nd, this is to conclude the administration to health workers and to begin with people who are at high risk, the elders and those living with cormorbidities. 

“J&J has also expressed its intent to deliver a subsequent batch of 900 000 doses in May and then another 900 000 in June, we expect the dates to be confirmed in the next two weeks.

“Manufacturers are very wary of giving us exact dates because they don’t want to be seen as underdelivering. These batches will be coming from Belgium” added Mkhize. 

He said they expect to start with phase 3 of the rollout in October.


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