As the South Africa government got its phase two vaccination programme under way on Monday, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has indicated that the country is not yet in the Covid-19 third wave, however, remains at risk.
Mkhize, accompanied by Gauteng Premier David Makhura and the provincial health MEC Dr Nomathemba Mokgethi, visited Munsieville Care for the Aged to launch the vaccination roll-out programme, with more than 2.1 million having registered to get inoculated.
Speaking to the media, Mkhize said he was impressed with the launch so far, adding that more vaccination sites would open throughout the week as over 85 sites have been earmarked across the country.
“We have been planning for the start of phase two of the vaccination programme and all sites have indicated that they have started today. All systems are in place. So far we have 87 sites that are open and by the end of the week the number will increase to 200,” he said.
The minister said the department of health was targeting to vaccine about five million people aged over 60 by the end of June.
The minister also confirmed that healthcare workers who were not vaccinated under the Sisonke project would get the jab this week, under phase 1b.
The vaccination programme starts amid fears of third wave of Covid-19 infections as cases have been rising over the past few weeks.
While Orlando Pirates boss Irvin Khoza was among senior citizens that were vaccinated on Monday, Mkhize highlighted that they will not have the option to choose which jab get they get between Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
Senior citizens have been urged to register on the health department’s Electronic Vaccination Data System (EVDS) as no walk-ins are allowed under phase two.
More vaccines are expected to arrive as the programme goes on, Mkhize added.
Meanwhile, the minister insisted South Africa has not hit the third wave yet.
“I am aware that there’s a lot of concern because the numbers of the people who have been infected has increased. I must say that technically we are not in the third wave yet. When we look at the provinces they will each get hit by the third wave at different times. At this point Free State is already technically in third wave while Gauteng also is a matter of concern because of the increasing cases,” he said.