The first one million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have arrived at the OR Tambo International Airport on Monday afternoon.
President Cyril Ramaphosa and Deputy President David Mabuza, who chairs the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Vaccines, were hands on to receive South Africa’s first consignment of Covid-19 vaccine as Emirates Airlines flight EK761 arrives from Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport, Mumbai, India.
The vaccine was developed by British-Swedish biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, in collaboration with the University of Oxford.
Its emergency use was approved in December after trials showed that it was safe and up to 90% effective in preventing infection from the coronavirus.
The consignment will be stored in a secure place for around two weeks for these quality assurance checks before it will be distributed to the various provinces.
Mkhize has previously said the vaccines would first have to go through strict quality assurance and stock control over a period of 10 to 14 days, before they are distributed across the country’s nine provinces.
The South African Health Department aims to vaccinate around 40 million people by the end of the year, equating to around 67% of the population. If the target is met, top scientists say the country would have achieved population immunity.
The first phase of this rollout programme will prioritise around 1.2 million frontline health workers.
“The arrival of the first consignment at OR Tambo International Airport marks the start of the vaccine rollout which President Ramaphosa describes as the largest and most complex logistical vaccine undertaking in South Africa’s country’s history”.
“The scale of delivery is unprecedented in terms of the number of people who have to be reached within a short space of time.” the Presidency said.
Source: Eyewitness, IOL