PHOTO USED TO ILLUSTRATE THE STORY: Residents of Snake Park in Soweto, a town in the city of Johannesburg, South Africa PHOTO: MARCO LONGARI / AFP
South Africa on Monday launched its second phase of COVID-19 vaccinations targeting people who are aged 60 years and above.
Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said late Sunday that the target would be achieved if the anticipated orders of vaccines were delivered on time.
“We will begin to vaccinate citizens 60 years and older, who are the most vulnerable for becoming ill or dying of Covid-19,” the minister said during a webinar.
The immunisation of health workers started in February when it became the first country worldwide to administer inoculations by US pharma group Johnson & Johnson.
“By the end of June we expect to have received 4.5 million doses of Pfizer and two million doses from Johnson & Johnson,” Mkhize said.
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South Africa earlier this year purchased AstraZeneca vaccines and then sold them to other African countries following fears that they would be less effective.
Then, after it started innoculating health workers, using the Johnson & Johnson jabs, it had to pause for two weeks mid-April to vet risks over blood clots that had been reported in the US.
After a brief lull, infections have climbed by as much as 46 percent between the last week of April and the first week of May.
South Africa has the highest number of coronavirus cases in Africa – with more than 1.6 million infections and over 55,000 deaths.