Health Minister Zweli Mkhize says once the COVID-19 vaccine, AstraZeneca, arrives in the country, samples will be taken to a laboratory for quality assurance checks before the rollout.
The one million doses are expected to arrive at the OR Tambo International Airport on Monday.
The first consignment of the vaccine will target frontline workers.
The second batch of 500 000 jabs is scheduled to arrive later in February.
Mkhize says it will take about ten days before the rollout begins.
“So they will check if it is indeed the vaccine that we had asked for and then they must also check if there is any contamination into those vaccines. Once they’ve got that cleared they will then issue a quality assurance certificate. The key issue here is that the safety of our people is paramount and the safety of the vaccines and the quality of the vaccine has to be checked,” explained the minister.
Meanwhile, President Cyril Ramaphosa will be at the airport to receive the vaccines. South Africa has been one of the slowest among major emerging market nations to secure enough vaccines for the majority of its population.
Noma Bolani has more …
The Health Department’s timeline is targeting to start the vaccination programme this month and with this delivery, it seems to be on target. Biopharmaceutical company, Bio-Vac, will be responsible for storing and distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. The aim of the vaccination programme is to achieve herd-immunity across the population. The first phase of this rollout programme will prioritise around 1.2 million frontline health workers across the country.
SA’s latest COVID-19 cases
South Africa recorded 4 525 coronavirus infections in the past 24 hours bringing the cumulative number of detected cases to 1 453 761.
The Department of Health says 213 more people have succumbed to COVID-19 related complications.
This puts the national death toll at 44 164.
The recovery rate now stands at 1 299 620.