Thursday, 29 July 2021

Johannesburg: President Cyril Ramaphosa has assured citizens that the country is not going to run short of COVID-19 vaccines.

“We now have a much more confirmed good supply of vaccines. We bringing in quite a lot of innovation in the vaccination process, and one of the innovations in drive through vaccinations where people just come, stay in their cars and they are vaccinated, the screening happens and then they move on.

“This is a new innovation [and] I think it must be one of the few first in the world, and we keep looking for ways and means in which we can improve to increase the vaccination levels,” President Ramaphosa said.

The President made these remarks on Thursday during his visit to the Rabasotho Community Centre, which is one of the vaccination sites in Tembisa, Gauteng.

The President’s visit aimed to assess progress in South Africa’s vaccination programme, and serve to motivate greater numbers of South Africans to embrace vaccination as the most effective weapon in the fight against COVID-19.

Speaking to the media outside the vaccination site, the President acknowledged good cooperation with the private sector, noting that the partnership is helping government a great deal in increasing the number of people who are vaccinated.

“We are pulling up all stops, we want to have reached [a] very good number of people who are vaccinated by the end of the year, and I think we are in line in doing so. With seven million people who have now been vaccinated in our country, we should be heading towards population immunity soon,” the President said.

Manufacturing of vaccines

He said he was also happy with the way the vaccination process is going, with South Africa being named the hub for the manufacturing of vaccines, on behalf of the Continent.

“We will in time be able to have the drug substance manufactured here, and it would be filled and finished here, and in other centres on our continent as well,” President Ramaphosa said.

While the pandemic has brought devastation on the country and the African continent, the virus has enabled innovative and creative ways of addressing it and future pandemics, a “lot more effectively and more efficiently”.

“It’s been a wakeup call and now the continent has woken up [to the fact] that we must be in charge of our own health destiny, and that what we are aspiring to do. It’s a wonderful good story as we move forward,” the President said.

The President was also pleased with progress at the Tembisa vaccination site and was informed that the centre has never had a shortage of vaccines.

Meanwhile, acting Health Minister, Mmamoloko Kubayi, who accompanied the President during the visit, said the department is working around the clock in ensuring that all South Africans receive their jabs.

She said that having seven million people vaccinated is a milestone and that work is continuing to reach the President’s target of 300 000 inoculations per day.

“Once we have enough vaccines, ramping up and reaching the targets would be easier,” Kubayi said.

Kubayi will later this afternoon join the tourism sector, where she will receive her jab at Sun City in the North West.

Gauteng targets 100 000 vaccinations per day

Meanwhile, Gauteng Premier David Makhura said the provincial government is extending the number of vaccination sites across the province, and working with the private sector to increase the reach. He said the province is targeting 100 000 vaccinations a day.

“We have seen in the last two weeks a lot of 60-year-olds and above coming with the younger generation, and 93% of teachers and health care workers have been vaccinated in the province.” said the Premier.