Covid-19: South Africa’s vaccine rollout outperforming initial schedule

PRETORIA, South Africa’s immunization campaign is going in advance of its initial targets in administering shots of the COVID-19 vaccine made by the US Johnson & Johnson company to healthcare staff, the National Department of Health reported.

“Within just over one week, from a standing start, 63,648 patient-facing healthcare workers in the public and private sector have been vaccinated against COVID19. The Sisonke Programme is outperforming original targets for number of vaccines delivered in its first week and is set to continue this momentum in its second week,” the department said in a statement.

The Sisonke Early Access Programme, launched on Feb 17, is designed to provide one-third of all vaccine doses available to medical workers involved in the private sector in a bid to cover inoculations for all the healthcare staff.

The health ministry also welcomed the recent trial results of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine that showed a 64 percent efficacy rate of a single shot against the South African coronavirus strain and noted that a national watchdog is expected to authorize the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for the general use later this weekend.

The national mass vaccination program in South Africa will be conducted in three stages, with the first one reserved for healthcare staff. It was set to begin with jabs from the AstraZeneca company, but its rollout was put on hold due to efficacy concerns.

Instead, the country kicked off the inoculation campaign with the first delivery from Johnson & Johnson, comprising 80,000 vaccine doses.


Health Medical