Vax calculator: Here's how many people SA needs to vaccinate daily to achieve herd immunity by 2022

16 March 2021 - 07:20
This health-care worker at Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Pretoria was among the first to get inoculated with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in February.
This health-care worker at Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Pretoria was among the first to get inoculated with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in February.
Image: Alon Skuy

SA could achieve herd immunity by February next year if it vaccinates 210,000 people a day.

This is according to a vaccine calculator developed by Media Hack.

It allows users to see how long it would take to achieve herd immunity depending on how many vaccines are administered daily.

The latest stats by the health department indicate that SA has vaccinated 145,544 health workers since the first rollout on February 17.

This, according to the calculator, means that SA vaccinates 6,064 people a day. If the rollout does not expand and continues at this pace, it will take 18 years and 16 days for the life-saving jab to reach its target of 40 million people, or 67% of the population.

More vaccines arriving in SA 

SA received 40,000 more vaccines from Johnson & Johnson on Saturday.

Sunday Times reported that Prof Glenda Gray, co-principal investigator of the Johnson & Johnson implementation study, said more batches are expected to arrive on Wednesday and next Saturday.

“We have an agreement with the company to supply 500,000 doses. Though we were going to bring in 80,000 doses every 14 days, we are now bringing in smaller quantities, but more frequently,” she said.

Expanding vaccine rollout

Linda-Gail Bekker of the University of Cape Town, who is co-principal investigator with Gray on the J & J project, told the Sunday Times last week there aren't enough health workers to administer the Covid-19 vaccine.

She said there was a need to expand the vaccination rollout to rural areas.

“The Northern Cape is trying to move ahead and we are having a conversation about whether to use mobile sites there,” she said. Gray said 70% of the vaccines are administered to public sector health-care workers and 30 to private-sector workers.

Last week, Gray said 42 vaccination sites had been set up, including training vaccinators, and an online vaccination register.  

How does SA compare to other countries? 

The US had administered a total of 107.1-million doses of the Covid-19 vaccines on Sunday, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The country has had more than 29-million Covid-19 cases and 531,766 deaths.

China had administered 65-million doses of the vaccine by Sunday, according to Reuters.

Here's how SA compares to other Brics countries according to Our World in Data an online tool that tracks and uploads live updates of vaccine inoculation globally. The latest stats are from March 13.

  • Russia 2,115,148
  • India 5,430,774
  • Brazil 2,849,230 

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