Ten million new Covid-19 vaccine doses ‘will be in the country next week’ which will be “the highest ever supply South Africa has had” since the vaccination drive began.
That’s the word from deputy director-general of the Department of Health Dr Nicholas Crisp, speaking during a briefing with acting Health Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane and other health ministry officials on Friday morning.
His comments followed Kubayi-Ngubane declaring earlier in the briefing that South Africa’s vaccination drive “will be significantly fast-tracked” from next week/ August, on the back of a major increase in vaccine supply from both Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson (J&J).
The minister also revealed that vaccinations for the 18-34 age group are expected to be ‘opened up’ from September.
South Africa has received a welcome injection to its Covid-19 vaccination rollout plan, following the United States government announcing a major donation earlier this week of 5.7 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNtech Covid-19 vaccine to the country.
The donation is expected to arrive in two consignments next week and is the largest bilateral vaccine donation to date to South Africa.
Kubayi-Ngubane said “certainly vaccine supply” has been given a significant boost following the US donation.
President Cyril Ramaphosa also hailed the donation during his tour of vaccinations sites in Gauteng on Thursday.
Both the president and acting health minister highlighted that South Africa had surpassed the 7 million vaccinations mark as of Thursday.
However, Crisp clarified in response to a Moneyweb question during the briefing, that just over 2.2 million people in the country have been fully vaccinated considering that the Pfizer-BioNtech Covid-19 vaccine encompasses a double dose.
He explained that just over 900 000 people had received the J&J single-dose vaccine, while more than 1.3 million people have now been fully vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine.