With first vaccine shipment on its way, SA hopeful of ending COVID-19 nightmare

With nearly 1.5 million cases, South Africa has recorded more COVID-19 infections than any other country on the continent.

The first shipment of 1 million doses of the Oxford University-AstraZeneca vaccine from the Serum Institute of India left Mumbai on 31 January 2021. Picture: @DIRCO_ZA on Twitter.

JOHANNESBURG - The aircraft carrying the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines is making its way to South Africa.

The vaccine was developed by Swedish-British biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca last year and produced in India by the Serum Institute.

South Africa will take delivery of 1 million doses for now and is expecting another 500,000 next month.

It's a historic moment in the country's fight against the coronavirus.

With nearly 1.5 million cases, South Africa has recorded more COVID-19 infections than any other country on the continent.

The more contagious variant of the virus discovered by local scientists in November has also pushed the cases up and has been detected in countries including the US and Australia.

Authorities are hoping that the 1 million, vaccines which will be first administered to healthcare workers, will save lives.

Once the vials are in the hands of health officials here, they will go through strict quality assurance and stock controls over a period of 10 to 14 days.

They will then be distributed to the country’s nine provinces.

Meanwhile, the successful tender bidder who’ll be responsible for storing the vaccines will be announced on Friday.

Download the Eyewitness News app to your iOS or Android device.