Million doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccines to arrive in April, says Zweli Mkhize

01 April 2021 - 09:30 By iavan pijoos
Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said the country's vaccination programme was on track, despite initial delays.
Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said the country's vaccination programme was on track, despite initial delays.
Image: Anthony Molyneaux

A million doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccines will arrive in SA in April, health minister Zweli Mkhize said on Thursday morning.

Mkhize said the country will receive a further 900,000 vaccines in May and June.

“The numbers will start increasing from July onwards,” he said during an interview on Morning Live.

Mkhize told the station his department was expecting 5.5 million Pfizer vaccines for the second quarter which stretches from April to June.

“The delay in the Pfizer consignment means that we still have to do additional vaccinations to the health workers, so we would obviously like to do that with Pfizer but we will see how it comes out.

“The first few vaccines that come will actually be used to finish off [vaccinating] health-care workers.”

From July to October, the country will receive 9 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and another 6 million from Pfizer, Mkhize said.

Mkhize said the government had planned to vaccinate 1.5 million people in three months starting on February 17, but the million doses of AstraZeneca vaccines delayed that plan.

The vaccine — procured by SA earlier this year — was found to have limited efficacy against mild and moderate disease caused by the Covid-19 variant dominant in the country.

It has since been sold to the AU.

“The issue is the vaccines were there and we were ready and we would have actually been able to finish the vaccination at that time, but because we now had to change to Johnson & Johnson, we now had to get the stock which has been recalled from various countries.”

He said this also delayed the government’s plans, but assured South Africans the government’s rollout plans were still on track.

“Everything is still on course.”

TimesLIVE


subscribe