Simnikiwe Hlatshaneni
Premium Journalist
2 minute read
1 Feb 2021
2:55 pm

WATCH: SA welcomes first 1.5 million Covid-19 vaccine doses

Simnikiwe Hlatshaneni

Last week, Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize assured South Africans that 'all is on track' to ensure a smooth implementation of the vaccine roll-out programme.

President Cyril Ramaphosa and Deputy President David Mabuza check the first consignment of the Covid-19 vaccine at OR Tambo International Airport, on 1 February 2021. Picture: GCIS

 

After months of public pressure to get its Covid-19 vaccine roll-out plan going, key government figures at OR Tambo International Airport were expected to officiate the arrival of the 1.5 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.

 

President Cyril Ramaphosa and Deputy President David Mabuza ready to receive the first shipment of one million doses of the Oxford University-AstraZeneca vaccine from the Serum Institute of India (SII). Picture: GCIS

The plane carrying the precious cargo would be arriving via Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from Mumbai, India, where the drugs were manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII).

According to government’s phased roll-out plan, healthcare workers would be prioritised in the first phase, followed by those with comorbidities and the elderly. The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine regime requires two doses, spaced out over a number of days.

ALSO READ: Medical students likely among first in line to receive vaccine jab

The vaccine was made to be stored and transported at normal refrigerated temperatures of 2°C to 8°C . In these conditions, the doses could last at least six months.

President Cyril Ramaphosa and Deputy President David Mabuza ready to receive the first shipment of one million doses of the Oxford University-AstraZeneca vaccine from the Serum Institute of India (SII). Picture: GCIS

Last week, Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize assured South Africans that “all is on track” and that government was working closely with all relevant stakeholders to ensure a smooth implementation of the vaccine roll-out programme.

Watch the arrival below, courtesy of the SABC.

 

 

According to President Cyril Ramaphosa, the first phase of the roll-out programme will prioritise around 1.2 million front-line health workers.

The arrival of the first consignment at OR Tambo Airport late Monday afternoon marked the start of the vaccine roll-out, which Ramaphosa has described as the largest and most complex logistical vaccine undertaking in South Africa’s history

Ramaphosa and Deputy President David Mabuza were joined at the airport by Mkhize, acting Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, High Commissioner of the Republic of India Jaideep Sarkar and Dr Morena Makhoana, chief executive officer of Biovac.

Workers offloading the first consignment of the Covid-19 vaccine which landed at OR Tambo Airport on Monday. Picture: GCIS

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