New vaccine plan in the works for South Africa: Mkhize

Government has concluded an agreement with pharmaceutical company Pfizer for the delivery of 20 million Covid-19 vaccines to South Africa, says health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize.

The new agreement, alongside a deal with Johnson & Johnson, will set the stage for a significant and rapid expansion of the country’s vaccination programme, he said.

The Health minister said that the final tranche of 200,000 Johnson & Johnson doses for the Sisonke Protocol is expected to arrive on 10 April 2021.

“These doses will take us to the last mile of the Sisonke Protocol, which is set to become one of the most seminal studies in the history of the pandemic.

“Similarly, we will also embark on an implementation study with a limited number of Pfizer doses used amongst health care workers- this will be yet another valuable contribution to the science of mass vaccination.”

In preparation for the mass vaccination campaign, government has undertaken a deep study of the Sisonke Protocol to draw lessons from the programme and enhance the efficiency of future operations, he said.

He said that government has continued to engage stakeholders across all sectors to “sensitise ourselves to the needs of various communities”.

“Upon deeper inspection and reflection, the Department of Health has worked on a revised strategy to ensure that the vaccination campaign targets the most pressing public health and economic relief that vaccination should achieve.

“These revisions will require extensive yet urgent consultation to ensure that the final programme expresses the will of the people.”

Upon completion of the ratification process, Mkhize said that government will announce the details of the revised vaccination programme to the public and call on the first group of eligible citizens to register on the Electronic Vaccination System.

“We look forward to announcing the details in the days to come,” he said.

As of Tuesday (7 April) South Africa reported 437 new cases of Covid-19, taking the total reported to 1,552,853.

Deaths have reached 53,032, a daily increase of 37, while recoveries have climbed to 1,478,820, leaving the country with a balance of 21,001 active cases. The total number of vaccines administered is 272,438.

Read: South Africa signs Pfizer deal in boost to vaccination roll out

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New vaccine plan in the works for South Africa: Mkhize