President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced that South Africa’s vaccine rollout will open for people aged 18 to 34 from 1 September 2021.
Vaccine sites will also open for walk-ins, he said, where people will be able to present themselves without an appointment, and they will be registered and vaccinated then and there. He did not provide a start date for walk-ins.
The president said that while the vaccine strategy has ramped up in the last few weeks and has made ‘huge strides’, there is still room for improvement.
He noted that the country is currently administering 240,000 vaccines every weekday – a month ago, the figure stood at around 100,000, he said. The goal, however, is to get to 300,000 doses administered every weekday.
This will be accomplished by increasing vaccination sites, improving the registration system, and boosting vaccination capacity over weekends.
In the next two to three months, 31 million additional doses from Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson will be delivered, and sourcing vaccines from other producers is also underway, Ramaphosa said.
“This supply pipeline means that there will be sufficient vaccine doses available for the rest of the year.”
As of Sunday, 6.3 million vaccines have been administered nationally, equating to over 10% of the population receiving a vaccine dose.
“While there is ample supply of vaccines for the short term, we must ensure that this supply is delivered on time and without disruption,” the president said.
It is also important to monitor the emergence of new variants and to secure access to future vaccines that are adapted to these variants,” Ramaphosa stressed.
“A few days ago, the Biovac Institute in Cape Town was appointed to manufacture the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine for distribution within Africa.”
The president noted that the World Health Organisation chose South Africa as hub for the manufacture of vaccines. “Aspen, based in Gqeberha, will from October be manufacturing vaccines solely for the African continent.”
“As a result of our negotiations with pharmaceutical companies and various developed economy governments, our country and our continent has been able to secure vaccines and is able to manufacture vaccines on our continent.”
The Department of Health updated its Covid-19 vaccination targets for South Africa earlier this week, and aims to have 35 million people jabbed by Christmas, Reuters reported.
“We will be able to have vaccinated, at least one dose, 35 million people before Christmas,” the department’s Dr Nicholas Crisp told parliament on Wednesday (21 July). “That is the target that we have set and that we are chasing,” he said.