Home South African Over 325,000 Pfizer vaccine doses to land in SA on Sunday night

Over 325,000 Pfizer vaccine doses to land in SA on Sunday night

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Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said South Africa would be receiving about 300,000 Pfizer vaccine doses on a weekly basis until the end of May and this would be doubled to abut 630,000 weekly doses from June.

File photo showing vials of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine. Picture: AFP

HEALTH Minister Zweli Mkhize has announced that over 325,000 Pfizer vaccine doses are expected to land in South Africa on Sunday night.

In an update on the delivery of Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer vaccine doses, Mkhize said 325,260 Pfizer vaccine doses were expected to arrive at Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport at about 11.45pm.

He said a National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NatJoints) was on guard to monitor the security of the transportation of the vaccine at the airport and to ensure the safe passage of the vaccine to the various vaccination sites.

“They have engaged all security agencies to ensure all necessary security procedures are in place for safe delivery of the vaccines and made the necessary arrangements with the police. Upon arrival the entire batch will be transported initially to a central warehouse.

“Samples will be sent to the National Control Laboratory for quality assurance and, after release, will be distributed to the provinces,” said Mkhize.

Mkhize said South Africa would be receiving about 300,000 Pfizer vaccine doses on a weekly basis until the end of May and this would be doubled to abut 630,000 weekly doses from June.

South Africa expects to have secured at least 4.5 million Pfizer vaccine doses by the end of June, he said.

Meanwhile, on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, Mkhize said doses which were due to be dispatched from Gqeberha were expected to be released around the middle of May.

He said this was due to a protracted safety verification process with international regulatory agencies such as the FDA, EMA and SAHPRA.

“This is a precautionary measure following the adverse findings during inspection of Emergent BioSolutions Bayview facility in the United States of America, one of the manufacturing partners of Johnson & Johnson, which prompted the authorities to extend their assessments of all Johnson & Johnson stock worldwide.

“These assessments are still under way. We are confident that the final outcome will be positive and that, provided there are no further disruptions, Johnson & Johnson will be in a position to release the stock from the Aspen plant in Gqeberha by the middle of May.

“The stock is currently finished and ready for dispatch. In the meantime, we will continue to vaccinate our health care workers with the remaining early access doses of Johnson & Johnson (through the Sisonke Protocol) and we will proceed to vaccinate with Pfizer.

“We therefore continue to call on all health care workers, including traditional healers, and all citizens 60 years and above to register on the EVDS as we continue to roll-out vaccines,” said Mkhize.