Health Minister reveals vaccination rollout plan to MPs
By Siyabonga Mkhwanazi 19m ago
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Cape Town – Health Minister Zweli Mkhize says they want to ramp up the vaccination of the people, with provinces indicating they were ready to roll out their plans.
Mkhize told members of the health portfolio committee on Friday that the sooner they started with the vaccination programme the better as countries are clamouring for vaccines across the globe.
This has led to some of the countries in Europe urging that vaccines not be exported until they have supplied all countries who were in the queue in that continent.
Mkhize said they were still committed to vaccinating 40 million by the end of the year. After the first consignment of one million doses arrived from the Serum Institute of India this week, another batch of 500000 doses would be delivered later this month.
Mkhize also said they were not only getting vaccines from Astrazeneca – they will get 9 million doses from Johnson & Johnson, 20 million from Pfizer and 12 million from the Covax facility.
He insisted that first in line to get vaccines were healthcare workers followed by essential services workers and people with comorbidities.
“The first phase should take us about three months. The second phase should take us about six months, and the last phase should take us about three or more months, depending what the situation will be with the supplier at that point. If we find that we are able to secure adequate vaccines before the end of three months, we will start with the second phase nevertheless and open up our logistical processes to move on,” said Mkhize.
He also told MPS that provinces were ready for the roll-out of the vaccines. But some of the MPS were concerned that the provinces did not have proper plans and appeared not ready for the roll-out.
Mkhize said that would be dealt with by provinces. He said the government wanted to move with speed to get people vaccinated.
“All the provinces have produced their plans, and they are ready to move to start vaccinating. In the course of that, we have a number of healthcare workers trained. We have engaged a number of stakeholders now, religious leaders, traditional leaders, civil society and son on to actually explain to them the role we wish them to play in this whole process,” said Mkhize.
The minister said they would be engaging a number of manufacturers to ensure that the country reaches herd immunity. She said a team from the department of health was working with the manufacturers.