Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize released a roll out strategy for the COVID-19 vaccine which he believes has to be made available to all South Africans, starting with frontline worker and the most vulnerable to ensure there is priority protection for these vulnerable groups. According to Dr Mkhize, the vaccines will possibly be available to most South African citizens by the end of 2021, which is the first year of rollout.
“We are targeting a minimum of 67% of the population to achieve herd immunity and the approach will be a phased rollout of the vaccine beginning with the most vulnerable in our population”
Phase one of the rollout will target frontline healthcare workers with a target population of 1,250,000 while phase two will be for essential workers, persons in congregate settings, persons older than 60 years of age and persons above 18 years of age with co-morbidities. The last phase of the rollout will target other persons older than 18 years of age.
At this stage, the department has secured doses that are to e acquired via COVAX which will ensure immunization of 10% of the population through the aforementioned mechanism. Dr Mkhize also mentioned that the department was working to at least have the vaccine ready much earlier, as early as February 2021.