Vaccine doors to be opened to those aged 18 and older from September 1: Ramaphosa
President Cyril Ramaphosa promises that there will be sufficient supply of Covid-19 vaccines until the end of the year
All South Africans aged 18 and older will be able to receive their Covid-19 vaccinations from September 1, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Sunday night.
Speaking during his address to the nation — in which he moved South Africa to lockdown alert level 3 and also announced a range of measures to assist an ailing country and population — the president said that this was possible due to the rapidly increasing number of people being vaccinated daily and also indications that the country has ample doses of the vaccine.
“As we have always said, our most effective weapon in the fight against Covid-19 is an effective and comprehensive vaccination programme,” he said. “In the last few weeks, our vaccination campaign has made huge strides. We are now administering more than 240,000 vaccines every weekday. A month ago, this figure stood at around 100,000 vaccines per weekday.”
Ramaphosa said that these figures would also likely increase as the number of vaccination sites grow and the vaccination registration system is improved.
“We will now allow people between the ages of 18 and 34 to be vaccinated from September 1 2021. This will be in addition to the age groups that are currently eligible, which is everyone over 35 years of age.
“This substantial increase in the rate of vaccination is made possible by improvements in the supply of vaccines. Within the next two to three months, we are scheduled to receive around 31-million additional doses from Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson. This supply pipeline means that there will be sufficient vaccine doses available for the rest of the year.
“While there is ample supply of vaccines for the short term, we must ensure that this supply is delivered on time and without disruption,” he said.
On top of this, Ramaphosa said, SA and the rest of Africa had not only been able to secure vaccines but was “able to manufacture vaccines on our continent”.
“Aspen, based in Gqeberha, will from October be manufacturing vaccines solely for the African continent. A few weeks ago the World Health Organisation chose South Africa as a hub for the manufacture of vaccines. A few days ago, the Biovac Institute in Cape Town was appointed to manufacture the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine for distribution within Africa,” he said.
As of 5pm on Sunday, according to the latest available figures, 6,384,382 vaccines had been administered across South Africa.