South Africa is targeting a minimum of 67% of the population for the vaccine to ensure herd immunity, about 40 million people, in phase one of the rollout.
Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize, in a briefing with health officials on Sunday to outline the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine, said that the target was to have the majority of people in the country vaccinated by the end of 2021.
Mkhize also said that the elderly, people with comorbidities, healthcare workers will be the first to be vaccinated in this phase.
He said South Africa was currently in talks with various manufacturers over stock availability of vaccines.
“We have signed non-disclosure agreements with various manufacturers, and we are waiting for specific offers to be discussed,” Mkhize said.
He also added that government had already started planning the distribution of vaccines, and that civil societies, private enterprise and traditional leaders would all be involved.
Deputy director-general of the Department of Health, Dr Anban Pillay, said they were “working hard” to get a sufficient supply of vaccines as quickly as possible.
DDG, Dr Anban Pillay:
COVAX is working hard to bring the date forward, but there is no firm date yet. We’ve also been in bilateral discussions and are fairly confident we will have vaccines in quarter one. #VaccineStrategy
— Dr Zweli Mkhize (@DrZweliMkhize) January 3, 2021
Asked whether the public would be able to privately import vaccines approved by the World Health Organization (WHO), Pillay said manufacturers preferred to deal with governments and entities that could to procure larger quantities.