Our take: One million Vaccinated!

South Africa hit a key milestone this week: Over 1 million citizens have been vaccinated!

We know, we know. It’s a LONG way from herd immunity.

Government is hoping to vaccinate 16.5 million South Africans in the current phase two, which targets the elderly and healthcare workers. Good news, though: once those aged 60 and older get their jabs, vaccines will be available to those over the age of 40, essential workers and those with comorbidities. The rest of us have to wait until November when phase 3 kicks off. We hope. The programme has repeatedly lagged behind target. 

To meet government’s current target of vaccinating those over 60 by the end of June, we have to vaccinate 4.4 million in just more than three weeks. At the current pace, this seems nearly impossible. Two reasons for the delays:

1. Citizens have been slow to register on the government’s electronic vaccination data system. According to the Mail & Guardian, stock is supplied to sites based on the number of people who have registered in that particular region. So if you’ve been procrastinating, get registered! Remember, walk-ins are allowed. 

2. Globally, there’s been a slowdown of the Johnson & Johnson vaccines after a contamination incident at a US pharmaceutical manufacturing facility. This has delayed the release of over one million Johnson & Johnson vaccines for South Africa until quality checks can be completed. 😬

This is a real pity: the J&J vaccines are best suited to our country as they involve just one jab and can be stored in a regular fridge, making it easier to distribute in rural areas. 

President Cyril Ramaphosa says we have procured 31 million doses of the J&J vaccine and 20 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Now we’re just waiting for them to arrive.  

This article appeared as part of The Wrap, 15 April 2021. Sign up to receive our weekly updates