South Africa received its first doses of the British AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine produced in India. It was President Cyril Ramaphosa who himself carried out the verification of the order on the tarmac at Johannesburg airport.
On Monday, 1 February 2021, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa officially verified the first shipment of the anti-Covid vaccine received by the country. A battery of controls is planned and should last several days. Tests are also underway to determine the effectiveness of the vaccine on the South African variant.
South African Health Minister Zweli Mkhize announced this weekend that he has set aside 20 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in addition to the 12 million doses obtained from the World Health Organization’s Covax system, the nine million doses of the one developed by the Johnson & Johnson Laboratory in the United States and the 1.5 million doses of the developed AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine that received one million on Monday.
“Today marks an important milestone in the fight against the pandemic,” Ramaphosa said on Twitter. “The arrival of the vaccine provides great hope for the economic and social recovery of our country and, more importantly, for the health of our people,” he said, adding that “will give the signal of a mass vaccination campaign that will be the most ambitious and the largest in the history of the country”.
The vaccination campaign is expected to start in two weeks and will focus on health workers. The authorities plan to vaccinate at least 67% of the population, or about 40 million people, by the end of the year.
With at least 1.45 million infections and more than 44,000 deaths, South Africa has the worst case and death record on the continent.