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Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has said that Phase Two of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in South Africa will kick off from 17 May.
Mkhize was visiting Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital in Gauteng on 8 April when he announced the date.
According to SAnews.gov.za, Mkhize said the next batch of vaccines would arrive in the country in the next few weeks.
Both the date for Phase Twp and arrival of new vaccines have been confirmed on government’s official coronavirus information updates portal, available via WhatsApp.
What to know about Phase Two of vaccine plan in South Africa
South Africa has secured 51 million vaccines to vaccinate 42 million South Africans. The large number of vaccines is thanks to agreements with multiple drug companies such as Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and Pfizer.
Mkhize said J&J will supply 30 million vaccines, while Pfizer will supply 20 million. The COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access programme will supply 1.2 million vaccines.
“This means we can now move ahead with confidence as we finalise our plans for our mass rollout campaign,” he said according to SAnews.
The first phase of vaccines prioritised health care and frontline workers. As of 8 April, 283 629 health care workers have been vaccinated.
The final batch of J&J vaccines for the Sisonke protocol, the research programme which allowed health care workers to be immediately vaccinated, is expected to arrive this week.
Phase Two will prioritise other essential workers, adults in congregate settings or with co-morbidities, or persons over the age of 60.
Mkhize added the second phase would take place until October.
“We said the second phase should take us six months and therefore, we’re still sticking to that,” he said.
At the same time, Mkhize announced J&J would provide South Africa with 1.9 million vaccines produced in Gqeberha. The locally-produced vaccines will arrive later this month.
Additional monthly deliveries of 900 000 vaccines will also be made in May and June.
Once the second phase is completed, the third phase will cover all other adults who want to be vaccinated.
Feature image: Hakan Nural/Unsplash