South Africa’s Health Minister, Zweli Mkhize, has declared ambitious plans for rolling out the COVID-19 vaccination in the country.
According to the Sunday Times newspaper, Mkhize said that they were laying down plans to vaccinate close to 200,000 people daily come May.
The arrival of Johnson & Johnson vaccines
To achieve this, the report said, they would have to set-up over 2,000 vaccination centres.
“They based the plan on the expected arrival of the first batch of 2.8 million Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses at the end of April,” the Sunday Times reported.
South Africa had earlier in February kick-started their vaccination drive but had to halt it after the AstraZeneca vaccine proved ineffective against the new strain in the country. The country administration then settled on the single-dose Johnson & Johnson, so far the only COVID-19 vaccine effective after only one dosage.
— Reuters (@Reuters) March 28, 2021
A slow start to rollout
Since the delay, the rollout of the vaccine has been slow. The country has just over 231,000 people vaccinated so far, many of whom are health workers. The plan is for the country to vaccinate two-thirds of its population, close to 40 million people.
South African government had also confirmed that it would secure 20 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine through bilateral negotiations. However, that plan is set for the second quarter of 2020.
Many ready to take vaccine
Many Africans, according to a report by the Africa CDC, were ready to take the vaccine. The poll found that two-thirds of the respondents interviewed expressed a willingness to accept COVID-19 vaccines. The most were prepared to take the vaccine included Egypt, with 78 %, Mozambique with 75 %, and Nigerians, 72 %.
That survey could boost Africa’s push to end COVID-19 in the continent. This is because misinformation is hampering vaccine rollout in Kenya. Frontline workers, including some health workers, have refused to take the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine owing to its recent negative press.
The Kenyan government has not issued comprehensive communication to weed out misinformation on the same.