Last night President Cyril Ramaphosa delivered his 2021 State of the Nation Address (SONA), with a myriad issues related to COVID-19 needing to be highlighted. Perhaps the most pertinent was that of vaccines, with the original Oxford/AstraZeneca rollout suspended due to the vaccine being ineffective against the country’s mutated version of coronavirus.
Instead, South Africa is turning to other companies to secure single jab variants instead, with Johnson & Johnson one of the first to be earmarked.
To that end, it was confirmed during SONA 2021 that nine million vaccines had been secured via Johnson & Johnson, with the first batch of 80 000 expected next week. This is anticipated to be followed by 500 000 vaccines over the fours weeks thereafter.
Along with the vaccines from Johnson & Johnson, government has also secured from the Covax facility and has a commitment from Pfizer.
“We have secured 9 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, 12 million vaccines from the Covax facility, Pfizer has committed 20 million vaccine doses; commencing with delivery by the end of the first quarter,” noted Ramaphosa during SONA 2021.
By our calculations that’s 21 million vaccines secured, and a further 20 million expected, but it remains to be seen how quickly the rollout can happen, with no deadlines confirmed for the larger quantities mentioned.
“We are continuing our engagement with all vaccine manufacturers to ensure that we secure sufficient quantities of vaccines that are suitable for the variant that we have here,” assured the president.
Given what happened at the beginning of this week, most South Africans will only be less anxious once the first batch lands locally and front line healthcare workers begin receiving their vaccinations en masse.
With no firm timeframes as to when the rest of the population will begin its vaccination in phase three of government’s plans, there are still plenty of questions that SONA 2021 left unaddressed.
[Image – SA Gov News on Twitter]