The start of the vaccination campaign has gone really well as a new batch of Johnson & Johnson vaccines arrived in the country over the weekend, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced during his speech to the nation on Sunday 28 February 2020.

More than 67 000 healthcare workers were vaccinated in the first 10 days of South Africa’s coronavirus vaccination programme.

“We have long held the view that a vaccine would be our most decisive measure to combat COVID-19, and to that extent set up processes at a continental and national level to prepare for the availability of an effective vaccine,” Ramaphosa said.

Rolling out the vaccines

South Africa recently signed an agreement with Johnson & Johnson to secure 11 million doses of the vaccines. The country has also secured 20 million doses from Pfizer, as well as 12 million vaccine doses from the COVAX facility. The government is also in the process of finalising the dose allocation from the African Union.

As part of phase one, healthcare workers are receiving the first doses of the vaccines that arrive in the country.

Once the healthcare workers have been vaccinated, phase two will start in late April or early May.

Phase two includes the elderly, essential workers, persons living or working in institutional settings and people with co-morbidities.

“We are in constant contact with various other vaccine manufacturers to ensure that we have the necessary quantities of vaccines when we need them,” said Ramaphosa.

WATCH: Covid-19 Vaccine Phased Rollout Plan

Vaccination sites

For phase two, there will be more sites for vaccination in the public and private healthcare sectors so that as many people as possible can be reached in the shortest possible time.

“All provinces have established vaccination sites and have put in place plans for the expansion of the programme as it gains momentum,” Ramaphosa said.

The number of sites that will be available for vaccination will be expanded next week from 17 sites to 49 sites. Of the 49 sites, 32 will be at public hospitals and 17 sites in private hospitals. This includes sites in rural areas to improve access to rural healthcare workers.