Govt sure it will have enough COVID vaccine doses to meet country's needs

Acting Health Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi revealed in her weekly briefing on Friday morning that the immunisation drive had this week seen a drop in pace because of limited stocks.

An education department employee gets a COVID-19 vaccine shot at the Rabasotho community hall in Tembisa on 23 June 2021. Picture: Xanderleigh Dookey Makhaza/Eyewitness News

CAPE TOWN - Government is certain that it will have enough vaccines to meet the country's immediate needs.

Acting Health Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi revealed in her weekly briefing on Friday morning that the immunisation drive had this week seen a drop in pace because of limited stocks.

More than 7.2 million COVID-19 vaccines have so far been administered in the country.

The National Health Department is chasing a presidential target of 300,000 COVID-19 jabs daily. But they can only make that happen if they have enough vaccines to administer. And the Health Department said that there was a massive boost coming, more than 5,5 million Pfizer shots are arriving between tomorrow and next Tuesday.

And just under 1.5 million Johnson & Johnson vaccines will be dispatched to vaccination sites next week. Deputy Director-General Dr Nicholas Crisp said that they'd set a target to vaccinate 7 million over the age of 35 over the coming month but they're not forgetting older South Africans too.

“But we must ensure that at least a million of those people are people over the age of 60. We cannot leave that population behind,” Dr Crisp said.

Minister Kubayi said that she had received an advisory for coronavirus vaccines from other manufacturers to be added to South Africa's arsenal against the COVID-19 pandemic and would communicate a decision around this in the coming week.

“This is in relation to questions about opening up for more vaccines to meet our demand. The advisory focuses on two vaccines, which is Sinovac and AstraZeneca,” the minister said.

Whilst government is encouraging all South Africans to get vaccinated, it's also stressing that immunisation is strictly voluntary process and employers can't force workers to take the jab.

WATCH: Vaccine update: Kubayi reiterates that COVID vaccinations remain voluntary

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