More than 60k additional doses of J&J vaccine land in SA

The aircraft carrying the consignment from Switzerland touched down at OR Tambo International Airport on Saturday morning.

The Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. Picture: Abigail Javier/Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG/CAPE TOWN – Sixty-thousand additional Johnson & Johnson vaccines have arrived in South Africa.

The aircraft carrying the consignment from Switzerland touched down at OR Tambo International Airport on Saturday morning.

The health department has managed to administer just over 182,000 vaccines among health workers across the country.

With the arrival of the latest consignment of 66,000 doses – government can continue with its Sisonke vaccine trial programme.

Government has secured 9 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in total.

Those vaccines will be supplemented by 20 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine, as the country embarks on an ambitious aim to inoculate around 40 million people by the end of the year.

However, many South African were sceptical that government will reach its target on time.

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Meanwhile, the Western Cape has administered more than 30,000 vaccines to health workers in the province.

Head of Health Dr Keith Cloete says it's anticipated that they will be able to cover 40% of health care workers with the limited doses being received via the Sisonke Programme.

He said thus far the process has been slow and tight.

The department is preparing to rapidly scale up vaccination to multiple sites during April to complete Phase 1 depending on vaccine availability.

Cloete said they were expecting the Pfizer vaccine to arrive.

"With the arrival of the Pfizer vaccine, we will scale up the rate and how many vaccines we do per day."

At the time of this report, there were 24 active cases among health workers, 11 nurses, three doctors and other categories of staff.

"In the last couple of weeks, we only seeing cases one to two to three cases per week. While it might be early days, but it might be the early signs of really starting to see an impact of the vaccinations among healthcare workers."

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