South Africa aims to more than double daily COVID-19 vaccinations in next month

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South Africa aims to more than double the rate of daily COVID-19 vaccinations over the next month to more than 200,000 as more Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines arrive, said health officials on Friday.

The country’s vaccination campaign has started slowly, delayed by the revelation that AstraZeneca’s vaccine is much less effective against the dominant variant of the local coronavirus.

The government has found it difficult to source from other manufacturers given the huge global demand.

So far, only 2.5 million vaccines have been administered using the single-shot J&J vaccine or the two-shot Pfizer alternative, to a population of 60 million people, according to data from the Ministry of Justice. health.

“Now we are able to do, and we have done, just over 100,000 per day over the past two days. Our goal for next week is to hit 150,000 per day, and by mid-July 200,000 per day with a goal by the end of July to have enough resources on the ground to do 250,000 vaccinations per day, ”said Nicholas Crisp., a senior official involved in the deployment of the vaccine, said at a press conference.

“The president asked us to aim for a target of 300,000 per day, and I think all of us in the immunization response program will work hard to try to reach that point,” he added. .

Acting Health Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane said Pfizer delivered nearly 4.5 million doses of the vaccine in the second quarter and pledged to deliver just over 15.5 million doses to the third quarter, including nearly 2.1 million doses in July.

In total, South Africa got 30 million shots from Pfizer and 31 million J&J.

J&J delivered 500,000 snapshots for a research study targeting healthcare workers, 300,000 last week and 1.2 million on Thursday, Kubayi-Ngubane said. Another 500,000 doses of J&J are expected soon, but the schedule is not yet confirmed.

“With this flow of vaccines, we will be able to advance the immunization of frontline workers sector by sector,” she said. So far, South Africa has started immunizing health workers, people over 60, and education workers.

From July 15, those over 50 will start getting vaccinated, the acting minister said.

(Report by Alexander Winning, edited by Louise Heavens)

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