Monday, 02 August 2021

Pretoria: President Cyril Ramaphosa says he is encouraged that many South Africans see the need to be vaccinated against Coronavirus.

“Vaccines are safe. They are our best protection against this disease and the national vaccination programme is our surest guarantee of a swift health and economic recovery,” President Ramaphosa said.

In his weekly newsletter on Monday, President Ramaphosa said to meet the demand for vaccination, several vaccination sites around the country are now operating on weekends and many innovations like vaccination drive-throughs and mobile vaccination units are in operation.

“As we work to vaccinate as many people as possible by end of the year, we salute the officials, healthcare workers and staff of the vaccination centres who are working tirelessly to support the national effort.

“One of the two vaccination sites I visited is run by the private sector, in partnership with government and the other is run by government, yet both facilities had similar levels of excellent service and professionalism,” President Ramaphosa said.

He said the private sector, including medical schemes, has worked alongside government from the onset of the pandemic, helping to mobilise resources and most recently, helping to meet the national vaccination targets.

“The two vaccination sites I visited are among an estimated 3 000 vaccination sites we have set up in the country. These sites are currently providing vaccines to any person above the age of 35, healthcare workers, and employees in participating workplaces,” President Ramaphosa said.

According to President Ramaphosa, the number of vaccinations administered in South Africa has passed the 7.5 million mark.

“Around three million people are fully vaccinated. At the present rate, we are vaccinating on average 220 000 people a day. In the coming weeks, this rate will increase significantly due to the arrival of more vaccine doses.

“Nearly 1.5 million single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccines have been handed to the Department of Health in the last couple of days.

“Over the past weekend, a donation of 5.66 million Pfizer vaccines from the USA government began arriving in the country. This is part of a donation of vaccines from the United States to African countries and low- and middle-income countries in other parts of the world.”

President Ramaphosa said South Africa is also making history, with the first COVID-19 vaccines produced in Africa for Africa having been released by Aspen Pharmacare from its flagship manufacturing plant in Gqeberha last week.

“These vaccines will be made available to the rest of the continent through the African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team, which we set up during our tenure as African Union chair. Thanks to the efforts of all involved in the multi-sectoral vaccine acquisition response, we now have a comfortable supply of stocks to vaccinate our population.”

At the Rabasotho Community Centre in Tembisa, President Ramaphosa said he saw government’s Batho Pele principles in action.

“The process was efficient and streamlined, from the COVID-19 Vaccination Card people are issued with to help them keep track of their doses, to data-capturing stations, and observation stations with doctors on standby for those who have just received their jab.

“Importantly, the site has an information area where those presenting for vaccination are given clear information in their own language on the different vaccine options available,” President Ramaphosa said.

President Ramaphosa encouraged South Africans to continue to follow the guidance of the World Health Organisation and the Department of Health around COVID-19 vaccines.

“We need to avoid spreading misleading and false information that can cause confusion.” he said.