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SA’s 18-35 year-olds to get vaccine

AFRICAN MIRROR REPORTER 

AFTER a slow start, South Africa has made strides in its COVID-19 vaccination programme, notching the 6.3-million vaccinations, and has plans to radically improve the numbers, the country’s President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced.

In a special address to the nation, Ramaphosa also announced that South Africans between the ages of 18 and 35 will soon be able to register for vaccinations.

Ramaphosa said: “As we have always said, our most effective weapon in the fight against COVID-19 is an effective and comprehensive vaccination programme. In the last few weeks, our vaccination campaign has made huge strides. We are now administering more than 240,000 vaccines every weekday. A month ago, this figure stood at around 100,000 vaccines per weekday.

“As a result, we have now administered more than 6.3 million vaccines, with over 10 percent of our population having received a vaccine dose. This has been possible through close collaboration between government and the private sector and with the active support of other social partners. In the coming weeks, we will substantially increase the rate of vaccination. We are increasing the number of vaccination sites and improving the vaccination registration system. We will also increase our vaccination capacity on weekends.

“We will now allow people between the ages of 18 and 34 to be vaccinated from the 1st of September 2021.  This will be in addition to the age groups that are currently eligible, which is everyone over 35 years of age.  We are now able to allow people to present themselves at a vaccination site without an appointment and be registered and vaccinated. This substantial increase in the rate of vaccination is made possible by improvements in the supply of vaccines.”

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He said SA was scheduled to, in the next three months, receive around 31 million doses of vaccine from Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson.

He said the supply pipeline means that there will be sufficient vaccine doses available for the rest of the year.

The president added: “We have made tremendous progress in addressing the challenges we faced as a country and the continent in access to vaccines.  As a result of our negotiations with pharmaceutical companies and various developed economic governments have, our country and our continent has been able to secure vaccines and is able to manufacture vaccines on our continent. Aspen based in Gqeberha will from October be manufacturing vaccines solely for the African continent. A few weeks ago the World Health Organization chose South Africa as the hub for the manufacture of vaccines.

 “A few days ago, the Biovac Institute in Cape Town was appointed to manufacture the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for distribution within Africa. While there is ample supply of vaccines for the short term, we must ensure that this supply is delivered on time and without disruption. It is also important to monitor the emergence of new variants and to secure access to future vaccines that are adapted to these variants. I urge all South Africans to register for vaccination as soon as they are eligible, whether online, via WhatsApp or USSD, or by calling the toll-free number on 0800 029 999.”

By The African Mirror

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