The Health Department’s bid to reach President Cyril Ramaphosa’s target of 300,000 Covid-19 vaccinations per day was this week hampered by a shortage of vaccines available on stock.
This was revealed by acting Health Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane on Friday during a virtual media briefing on government’s vaccination roll-out programme.
“This week our vaccine supply was constrained which negatively affected the rate of vaccination as some of the sites ran out of vaccines and people had to be turned away,” the minister said.
Kubayi-Ngubane said the average daily rate of vaccines being administered this week was around 220,000.
She said Ramaphosa’s announcement on Sunday, on the arrival of more vaccines to South Africa, meant that supply challenges would be “a thing of the past”.
“The good news is that we have received more vaccines from Johnson & Johnson and more Pfizer vaccines,” she said.
The certainty on vaccine supply means that we will have sufficient supply to meet our immediate needs.
The minister said despite the challenges with the supply constraints, the country’s total vaccinations reached more than seven million people.
Kubayi-Ngubane urged vaccine manufacturers to stick to their delivery time frames so that the country could fast-track its roll-out programme.
“If they miss a date or delay with a day or two, it impacts negatively on our vaccination programme,” she said.
Speaking during his visit on Thursday to a public health facility in Tembisa, Ekurhuleni, Ramaphosa assured the nation that government would not run out of vaccine doses.
The president said the country was expecting more shots in the coming weeks, with around 31 million additional doses coming from Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson.