South Africa’s Covid-19 vaccination programme is next month expected to gain further momentum, with those aged between 35 and 49 years set to be vaccinated.
While registrations will begin on 15 July, inoculations for this group will only start on 1 August.
Healthcare workers were the first to be vaccinated in March under the Johnson & Johnson Sisonke programme. A month later, government began administering vaccines in the over-60 population.
Two weeks ago, over 500 000 basic education workers began receiving their doses. Last week, the programme began focusing on those aged 50 and above. Personnel in the security sector this week started being vaccinated.
In the past 24 hours, the country recorded 22 910 new cases, representing a 34.4% positivity rate. Of these, 11 747 were in Gauteng.
Acting health minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane said government’s vaccination programme has made significant strides overall. “We have learned lessons from when we started, and we continue to improve our systems as we work and continue moving forward,” she said.
Last week, the South African Health Products Authority (SAHPRA) granted approval for the use of the Sinovac vaccine. “The approval came at a time when the demand for vaccines was increasing. More people are yearning to get vaccinated. This will boost the vaccine supply for the country’s vaccination roll-out programme.”
Sinovac is in addition to the Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines already utilised in the country.
Kubayi-Ngubane said while indications are that the number of cases in Gauteng have peaked and are now declining, the province remains the country’s epicentre. “We should never let our guards down and think that it is over.”
She expressed concern over the rise in numbers in the Western Cape, Limpopo, North West, KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga. As of Thursday, South Africa was surpassing 191 000 vaccinations a day. “We’re expecting to surpass 250 000 vaccinations by next week.”
The country has vaccinated four million people – partially or fully — to date.