This afternoon the first batches of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine will arrive in South Africa. The vaccine is produced by the Serum Institute of India, under licence from Astrazeneca. One million doses of the vaccine are expected to arrive at 15:00 at OR Tambo International Airport. Ramaphosa’s personal involvement in the arrival of the vaccines is seen by many as a show of strength and unity during the global pandemic that has caused global chaos.
Joining Ramaphosa for the arrival of the vaccine will be Deputy President David Mabuza, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize, and Dr Morena Makhoana of Biovac. Biovac was established in South Africa in 2003 to establish local vaccine manufacturing capability. Biovac will store and test the vaccines before they roll it out across South Africa. Before the vaccine is stored and rolled out it will have to undergo customs clearance, transportation to cold-storage warehouses, laboratory verification and quality testing.
Frontline health workers will be prioritised during the first round of the Covid-19 vaccine rollout.
The aim of the vaccine is to create herd immunity as quickly as possible. A further 500 000 doses are expected to arrive later this month.
In South Africa 1 453 761 positive cases have been reported, with more than 44 000 deaths. On the 31st of January 4525 new cases of Covid-19 were reported. This shows an almost 50% decline on the total number of cases reported the week before. This significant decline has given many hope that the second-wave is in decline. Today, private schools returned to in person teaching.
Tonight President Ramaphosa will address the nation on developments in the Covid-19 response.