Minister Mkhize Updates On The Covid-19 Vaccine Process

While South Africa awaits the arrival of the Covid-19 vaccines, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize provided updates on the rollout of the vaccines saying research is being done into the efficacy of the vaccines for the new variant of Covid-19. 

As South Africa's Covid-19 cases approaches the 1.5 million mark, there are questions surrounding the vaccines and when the country will receive them so that they can help people build their immunity against the virus and prevent more waves of the pandemic.   

The South African government has secured vaccines from the COVAX facility as well as various other vaccine manufacturers to ensure that the country receives enough vaccines to administer to 67% of the population so that they may achieve herd immunity. 

Recently the country secured Covid-19 vaccines from the Serum Institute in India, which is the world's largest vaccine producer, which President Cyril Ramaphosa says the country will soon receive. 

South Africa has reportedly secured around 34.5 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines. 

The country still awaits the first batch of one million Covid-19 vaccines and a more detailed rollout plan.

The Department of Health and the Ministerial Advisory Committee have been in discussions with five potential vaccine suppliers, which include: AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Johnson and Johnson and Cipla. 

Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize says all these vaccines, except the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, must be administered in two doses. 

"You get the first dose and then you get a booster dose," said Mkhize. 

The second dose would be administered around 21-28 days after the first dose, but Mkhize says that research has shown that one can wait about 42 days before receiving the next dose. The same vaccine will have to be administered twice as research has shown that a cross-reaction of vaccines is not well established. 

In terms of how the vaccines will provide immunity against the new variant in South Africa, Mkhize says that a lot of research is still taking place concerning this. 

Vaccine manufacturers remain unsure as to whether their respective vaccines will be effective against the new variant. 

Dr Mkhize says that despite this the vaccination programme has to continue. 


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