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7.5-million vaccines administered in SA as hesitancy declines, pace picks up

02 August 2021 - 09:05 By TimesLIVE
President Cyril Ramaphosa at the Rabasotho Community Centre vaccination site in Thembisa.
President Cyril Ramaphosa at the Rabasotho Community Centre vaccination site in Thembisa.
Image: Freddy Mavunda

Getting the Covid-19 vaccination is a patriotic duty to safeguard the health of the nation, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Monday when he announced SA has passed the 7.5-million mark for the number of administered jabs.

About three-million people are fully vaccinated.

“At the present rate, we are vaccinating on average 220,000 people a day. In the coming weeks, this rate will increase significantly due to the arrival of more vaccine doses,” he said in his weekly newsletter.

Nearly 1.5-million single dose Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccines have been handed to the health department in the past few days.

Over the past weekend, a donation of 5.66-million Pfizer vaccines [two-dose jabs] from the US government started arriving in the country. This is part of a donation of vaccines from the US to African countries and low- and middle-income countries in other parts of the world.

The first Covid-19 vaccines produced in Africa for Africa were released by Aspen Pharmacare from its manufacturing plant in Gqeberha last week. These vaccines will be made available to the rest of the continent through the African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team, said Ramaphosa.

“We now have a comfortable supply of stocks to vaccinate our population.”

Ramaphosa expressed his relief that there is increased public confidence in the vaccinations, referring to the latest National Income Dynamics Study (Nids) Coronavirus Rapid Mobile Survey (Cram) which found only one in 10 South Africans believe Covid-19 vaccines are unsafe.

Last week the president visited two vaccination sites in Midrand and Thembisa, which are among an estimated 3,000 vaccination sites in the country.

He spoke to Rosemary Mabaso, 67, who had come for her second dose, and the Mathebulas, a couple from Thembisa, who overcame their initial hesitance about the inoculations

“Such expressions of confidence are greatly encouraging, as are the words of Mama Mabaso, who said ‘I want to tell everyone there is no need to be scared. This vaccine is safe and it is helping us’.

“Vaccines are safe. They are our best protection against this disease and the national vaccination programme is our surest guarantee of a swift health and economic recovery,” said Ramaphosa.

“Over 18 months we have experienced a deadly pandemic, severe economic and social hardship and, recently, serious unrest wrought by those who want to see our country fail.

“By getting vaccinated, we aren’t just protecting ourselves. We are performing a patriotic duty to our country and our fellow citizens.”