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Mkhize expects SA’s first batch of COVID-19 vaccines to arrive on Monday

The Serum Institute of India will dispatch 1 million of the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine in the initial batch.

FILE: The University of Oxford and drug manufacturer AstraZeneca have developed a COVID-19 vaccine. Picture: AFP.

CAPE TOWN - South Africa's first batch of COVID-19 vaccines are set to arrive in the country on Monday.

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize made the announcement on Wednesday, saying that work would now begin to vaccinate the country's more than 1,25 million health workers first.

The Serum Institute of India will dispatch 1 million of the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine in the initial batch.
Five-hundred-thousand more doses are expected to be shipped next month.

A flight carrying the precious cargo is scheduled to leave India on Sunday and land at OR Tambo International airport on Monday.

Mkhize described the imminent arrival of the COVID-19 vaccines as a massive achievement.

“As a country, for us to expect our first consignment of the vaccines less than a year after the first case of COVID-19 was recorded is a massive achievement of unprecedented proportions.”

Deputy Director of Health, Dr Anban Pillay, explained that two doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine would be administered.

“The dosing interval varies - in some of the trials it’s been four weeks, but it could go up to 12 weeks. It’s administered in the deltoid muscle with a syringe – (like many of us) have seen on TV.”

Government aims to have 67% of the population vaccinated by the end of this year in its quest to achieve herd immunity.

Globally, more than 71 million doses of various vaccines have already been administered, with more than 6,5 million people already having received a second jab.

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