More needs to be done to increase vaccination efforts - SAMRC's Grey

With a current vaccination rate at 5,000 per day, Professor Glend Grey said that this would need to be ramped up to between 120,000 and 150,000 jabs a day to meet the target of herd immunity and ward off a possible third wave.

 A vaccinator showing a healthcare worker the COVID-19 vaccine on the first day of South Africa's vaccine rollout on 17 February 2021. Picture: Abigail Javier/Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG - The South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC)’s Professor Glenda Grey said that the while the rapid rollout of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to healthcare workers has made promising strides, it has been far from perfect.

Grey was speaking at a joint media briefing on the status of the national vaccine rollout on Friday afternoon.

South Africa started its COVID-19 vaccine rollout a mere 17 days ago, with over 92,000 frontline healthcare workers getting a jab so far.

GALLERY: Day 1 of South Africa's COVID-19 vaccine rollout

With an aim to immunise about 40 million people, Grey said that more needed to be done to increase vaccination efforts.

With a current vaccination rate at 5,000 per day, Grey said that this would need to be ramped up to between 120,000 and 150,000 jabs a day to meet the target of herd immunity and ward off a possible third wave.

Grey admitted that the first phase has been slow-moving as the vaccines were administered under trial conditions.

She said the pace would likely pick up under phase 2 and 3.

"Every hour we're improving the systems and I think the most important thing is to continue to work on improving the systems so that by the time we get to phase 2, we understand the levels and the need to scale up. It's not perfect but it's definitely much better than it was on day one."

While the vaccine rollout has presented its own challenges, Grey said that with continued partnership between all sectors of the health system, this mammoth task was indeed achievable.

WATCH: National vaccine rollout finally gets under way

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