Molefe Seeletsa
Digital Journalist
2 minute read
14 Mar 2021
11:17 am

40,000 Johnson & Johnson vaccines touchdown in SA

Molefe Seeletsa

This now pushes the total number of vaccines received to 200,000 after the first and second batches of the doses last month.

The current inoculation of healthcare workers is part of an extended study as the Johnson and Johnson vaccine is yet to receive authority from the health product regulator of South Africa. Picture: Michel Bega

South Africa has received more Johnson & Johnson (J&J) Covid-19 vaccines, which arrived in the country on Saturday, 13 March.

This is according to South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) chairperson, professor Glenda Gray.

The country has since received 40,000 more J&J vaccine doses as government looks to complete the first phase of its vaccination programme involving healthcare workers in the public and private sectors.

ALSO READ: SA’s newly detected Covid-19 variants aren’t major cause for concern

This now pushes the total number of doses received in the first phase of the government’s rollout program to 200,000 after the first and second batches of the doses last month.

Speaking to The Citizen on Sunday morning, Gray confirmed that South Africa would receive 80,000 doses every 14 days, however, in smaller quantities.

“We can expect more vaccines this coming Wednesday and Saturday, which will then be distributed across the country,” she said.

ALSO READ: Here are the 18 sites where SA’s first vaccinations will take place

The total number of vaccines that have been administered to healthcare workers currently stands at 145,544 as of Saturday.

Government has set aside a budget of R9 billion towards funding the free Covid-19 vaccination programme in the medium term, with the rollout expected to gather pace in the second half of the year.

This brings the vaccine rollout costs to a total of R10.3 billion for the current year, as an additional R1.3 billion was allocated in the current financial year.

New Variants

Earlier this week, KwaZulu-Natal Research and Innovation Sequencing Platform (KRISP) group leader Dr Richard Lessells warned that it would some time before the vaccines could make its way into as many arms as possible.

Lessells also noted the emergence of two additional SARS-CoV-2 variants, B.1.1.7 and A.23.1, amid fears of a possible third wave of Covid-19 ahead of winter.

The Citizen has reached out to the Department of Health for more details. Article will be updated as soon as we receive a comment.

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