POLL | Will you get the Covid-19 vaccine when it reaches SA?

05 January 2021 - 07:18
Health minister Zweli Mkhize says the government is committed to rolling out vaccines with urgency to establish herd immunity against Covid-19. Stock photo.
Health minister Zweli Mkhize says the government is committed to rolling out vaccines with urgency to establish herd immunity against Covid-19. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF/David Izquierdo Roger

A Covid-19 vaccine can be expected in SA between March and the end of the year.

This is according to President Cyril Ramaphosa, who told Bloomberg this week that Pfizer and BioNTech offered to supply Africa with 50 million vaccines for health workers in 2021.

According to the presidency, the cost of Pfizer’s vaccines are “prohibitive”.

The first Pfizer Covid vaccines started rolling out in the UK with 90-year-old Margaret Keenan being the first person in the world to receive the vaccine shot outside of clinical trial.

96-year-old Araceli Hidalgo was the first person in Spain to get a vaccine.

In Italy, the first country in Europe to record significant numbers of infections, 29-year-old nurse Claudia Alivernini was one of three medical staff to receive the first shots of the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech.

SA is yet to conclude a direct agreement with a supplier to secure Covid-19 vaccines. Discussions are being held with Johnson & Johnson, which is currently conducting clinical trials for a vaccine with SA's largest pharmaceutical group, Aspen, in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape.

Speaking on Sunday, health minister Zweli Mkhize said the government was committed to rolling out vaccines with urgency to establish herd immunity against Covid-19.

He said the government planned to make vaccines available to all South Africans, starting with the most vulnerable and health workers.

Mkhize said the government was targeting 67% of the population in its strategy to establish herd immunity.

He said the rollout of vaccines would be done in three phases:

  • Phase one would focus on front-line health workers with a target population of 1.25 million.
  • Phase two would include essential workers with a target population of 2.5 million, people older than 60 (5 million), people older than 18 with co-morbidities (8 million) and people in congregate settings (1.1 million).
  • Phase three would target other people older than 18 with a target population of 22.5 million.

At this stage we have secured the doses that will be acquired through Covax which will ensure that we immunise 10% of the population through this mechanism and, in line with the president’s statement, we expect the processes will have delivered the vaccine by the beginning of the second quarter,” said Mkhize.

“Having secured for 10% of the population, we have embarked on other efforts to get the rest of the 57% of the population to be targeted by the end 2021 but, more importantly, we are making efforts to obtain vaccines much earlier, hopefully as early as February 2021.”


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