Covid-19: South Africa said to vaccinate 5 million citizens with the highest risk of death

South Africa has announced an ambitious plan to vaccinate its five million citizens at highest risk of dying from COVID-19 in the second phase of its pandemic control program by the end of June.

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said on a national television broadcast on Sunday evening that the first phase ended on Friday with 478,000 of the planned 500,000 health care workers.

“These (remaining) doses will not be used for Phase 2 or Phase 3, but they will be used by the Medical Research Council to conduct some important studies and programs that will help us understand how vaccines work on populations such as living people with HIV and pregnant and nursing mothers, “said Mkhize.

The second phase, starting Monday, will give priority to those in need of protection such as those over 60 and those with comorbidities before the general public can be vaccinated in the next phase.

Mkhize said an overnight delivery of Pfizer vaccines on Sunday would bring the available doses in the country to just over 975,000.

“We will continue to vaccinate health care workers and complete the targeted 1.2 million health care workers in the coming week.

“We will also begin vaccinating citizens 60 and older who are most susceptible to developing COVID-19 or dying. We aim to have five million citizens ready by the end of June, provided vaccine supplies go as expected.” said the minister.

“We are projected to receive 4.5 million doses of Pfizer and two million doses of Johnson and Johnson by the end of June once they are released (after approval by the US Food and Drug Administration),” he said.

Mkhize said vaccination will begin in 87 locations across the country on Monday, 83 in the public sector and four in the private sector, all of which would be released for public information.

“We want to scale this to just over 200 by the end of the week,” Mkhize said as he stated that the remaining healthcare workers and those over 60 have already received text messages to indicate where and when to sign up for theirs Should report vaccinations.

Two weeks ago, electronic systems were set up that people can use to register for vaccination.

“Core teams are running robust registration campaigns across all provinces, and we are seeing the numbers are already rising as these initiatives are having an impact on the community.

“To date, over 1.22 million seniors have registered,” Mkhize said, adding that seniors who were unable to register may be able to enter and get vaccinated during the course of the program, but not at this point.

The program is designed to avoid long queues, especially for seniors.

As part of the rollout plan, over 7,000 residents who live in 102 old people’s homes will be personally visited by the end of May to receive their vaccinations.

The vaccination plans were announced shortly after Prime Minister David Makhura announced that the South African economic hub of Gauteng Province is now officially in a third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

For the first time in several weeks, South Africa recorded over 3,000 new coronavirus infections within 24 hours on Saturday.

The Ministry of Health said 3,221 cases were confirmed, bringing the number of infections to 1,605,252. There were 44 more coronavirus-related deaths during that period, bringing the death toll since the pandemic started to 55,012.

The recovery rate has dropped to 94.7 percent, with 1,520,878 people recovering so far.

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