As seven million people have already been inoculated against Covid, South Africa’s aggressive ramping up of its vaccination programme has begun to show results, with President Cyril Ramaphosa yesterday upbeat about the country soon reaching a herd immunity.
Accompanied by acting Health Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, Gauteng premier David Makhura and provincial health MEC Dr Nomathemba Mokgethi, Ramaphosa was addressing journalists during a visit to a public vaccination centre in Tembisa and a private-public partnership centre in Midrand– assessing progress in government’s roll-out programme.
According to the presidency, the partnership has enabled the country’s vaccination programme to gather pace, with the number of immunised people now exceeding seven million, with a million vaccinated every week.
More than 1 500 volunteers, comprising doctors, nurses and other health workers, have been brought on board to help with vaccination on weekends at various sites across the country.
Ramaphosa said South Africa was in line to reach “a good number of people vaccinated by the end of the year”.
He added: “With seven million people who have now been vaccinated, we should be soon heading for a population immunity.
“Good news is that we have now positioned ourselves as a country and a continent to be the hub for manufacturing of vaccines, so that we can move away from fill and finish.
“We will, in time, have the drug substance manufactured, filled and finished here, as well as in other centres of the continent.
“We have been enabled to come up with innovative and creative ways of addressing this and future pandemics a lot more effectively and efficiently – a wake-up call for the continent.
“As much as it has been a devastating pandemic, Covid has made us to be in charge of our own destiny – with SA being the champion.”