We will not have vaccine shortages, promises Ramaphosa, with 5.7-million jabs from US en route to SA
President Cyril Ramaphosa is confident there will be no Covid-19 vaccine shortages as the government's roll out programme builds steam.
More than 7-million people have received their jabs so far, with those aged between 18 and 35 expected to be the next in line from September 1. At the moment, only those 35 years and older are eligible to get vaccinated, along with certain categories of essential workers.
Ramaphosa visited two vaccination sites in Gauteng — one in Thembisa on the East Rand and another in Midrand — where he interacted with ordinary community members and health workers. He was accompanied by premier David Makhura, health MEC Dr Nomathemba Mokgethi and acting health minister Mmamoloko Kubayi.
The president said he was pleased with the pace of the vaccination roll out.
Asked if he was worried that the government would not be able to meet the growing vaccine demand, Ramaphosa said the country had a surplus of vaccines.
“We now have a much more confirmed good supply of vaccines. We are not going to run short of vaccines. We are bringing in quite a lot of innovation in the vaccination process. One of the innovations is the drive-through vaccinations. I think it must be one of the first in the world and we keep looking for ways in which we can improve, to increase the vaccination levels,” he said.
The president confirmed that more than 5-million vaccines donated by the US government were en route to SA. This as SA was also gearing up to manufacture its own vaccines after being given the go-ahead by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
“Today or the day after we are going to receive 5.7-million that have been donated by the and Aspen in Ggeberha is going to now start producing, delivering for us and the rest of the continent, so I am not worried. Earlier, I was worried. There may be shortage in one centre for a few hours a day but we will be able to fill that gap,” he said.
Ramaphosa hailed public-private partnerships in administering the vaccines amid growing demand.
“The other good thing of course is our co-operation with the private sector. The partnership is helping us a great deal to up the numbers. We are pulling out all stops, we want to have reached a very good number of people who are vaccinated by the end of the year and I think we are in line to do so.”
Ramaphosa would not be drawn into stating when the country would reach population immunity.
“With 7-million people who have now been vaccinated we should be heading towards population immunity soon. So I am very happy with the way the vaccination process is going.
“Of course, the good and better news is that we have now positioned ourselves as a country and continent to be hub for the manufacturing of vaccines.”