President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Monday the country’s vaccination rate will increase significantly in the coming weeks owing to the arrival of more vaccine doses, which will ensure that the country has a comfortable supply of stock to vaccinate the population.
The country’s current vaccination rate is 220 000 people a day, with over 7.5-million people vaccinated, three-million of whom are fully vaccinated.
Last week, the Department of Health received almost 1.5-million single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccines and 5.66-million Pfizer vaccines from the US.
The first Covid-19 vaccines produced in Africa were released by Aspen Pharmacare, last week, from its manufacturing plant in Gqeberha.
The vaccines from this facility will be distributed to the rest of the continent through the African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team, which South Africa set up during its tenure as African Union chair.
“Thanks to the efforts of all involved in the multisectoral vaccine acquisition response, we now have a comfortable supply of stocks to vaccinate our population,” Ramaphosa stated.
Last week Ramaphosa visited two vaccination sites in Tembisa and Midrand. There are about 3 000 sites across the country.
To meet demand, several sites around the country are now operating on weekends, with other innovations such as vaccination drive-throughs and mobile vaccination units in operation.
Meanwhile, Ramaphosa said he is encouraged that so many South Africans accept the need to be vaccinated, citing the latest National Income Dynamics Study Coronavirus Rapid Mobile Survey which found that there is increased public openness to accepting a Covid-19 vaccine. Only 1 in 10 South Africans believe that Covid-19 vaccines are unsafe.
Ramaphosa called on citizens to avoid spreading misleading and false information about Covid-19 vaccines that can cause confusion among citizens.
He encouraged South Africans to continue to follow the guidance of the World Health Organisation and the Department of Health on information on Covid-19 vaccines.
He stressed that vaccines are safe and the best protection against Covid-19.
“Over a year and a half, 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 going out and getting vaccinated, we aren’t just protecting ourselves. We are performing a patriotic duty to our country and our fellow citizens,” said Ramaphosa.