US vaccine donation will go a long way to help SA reach targets – Health Dept

The plane carrying over 2.8 million vials donated by the US through the Covax facility touched down at OR Tambo International Airport on Saturday afternoon.

Acting Minister of Health, Mmamoloko Kubayi joined by Health Deputy Minister Dr Joe Phaahla and Chief of Mission at US Embassy Todd Haskell receives 2.8 million Pfizer vaccine doses at the OR Tambo International Airport on 31 July 2021,. Picture: Twitter/@HealthZA

CAPE TOWN – As South Africa continues to ramp up its effort to reach herd immunity, the first half of more than 5.6 million Pfizer vaccine doses have arrived in the country from the United States (US).

The plane carrying over 2.8 million vials touched down at OR Tambo International Airport on Saturday afternoon.

The health department said the doses would make their way to vaccine sites across the country next week.

The second batch is expected to arrive on South African soil by Tuesday.

President Joe Biden has started delivering on his promise that the US would donate vaccines to the world's poorest nations.

The donation of 5, 66 million vaccines – which has been promised to South Africa – is the largest donation to a single country and has been made possible by the Covax facility which ensures low to middle-income countries are not left behind in efforts to vaccinate the globe.

The national health department's Dr Nicholas Crisp said the shipment will go a long way in ensuring 35 million South Africans receive at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by Christmas.

“This is a very significant donation and a very significant amount and will make a tremendous impact on our ability to get to our targets before the end of the year.”

So far, more than 2.9 million people across the country have been fully vaccinated.

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