Phase 1 of the vaccination programme is in progress, and government plans to continue with the rest of the rollout plan as more vaccines are expected to arrive.
Health Minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize said 52 647 health care workers have already been vaccinated under the Sisonke programme.
"We have said that in the next few weeks we will be receiving 500 000 doses (from Johnson&Johnson) and those doses will cover some of the health workers. In the process we will also be receiving another 600 000 that will come from Pfizer and so we will be able to get over 1 million people vaccinated between now and hopefully the end of March.
"That process is gonna ensure that all the health workers either get the once off dose or the first dose, which means we'll have about 2-3 months to be able to give them a booster dose." said Mkhize.
The Johnson&Johnson vaccine is 57% effective against Covid-19, while providing 100% protection against mortality.
The vaccination programme will be rolled out in three phases:
- Phase 1: all health sector workers
- Phase 2: essential workers Persons in congregate settings Persons over 60 years Persons over 18 years with Co morbidities
- Phase 3: other persons over 18 years
Healthcare workers have been encouraged to get vaccinated by registering on the Electronic Vaccine Data System (EVDS).
They will be vaccinated through the Sisonke programme, which gives healthcare workers early access to the vaccine.
Professor Linda-Gail Bekker, Deputy Director of the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation, said healthcare workers will need to give their consent while registering to be vaccinated.
“We have a safe and effective vaccine that is not licensed. We’re going to introduce it through this other mechanism called the Sisonke program while we wait for licensure to arrive, ” said Bekker.
“Before healthcare workers can receive the jab they will need to register and a text message will be sent to them, asking if they would like to go with Sisonke and if they say yes, they will go through a simple electronic consent process. If they agree to this, a vaccination voucher will be issued. They have to take this voucher to the vaccination site, ”she said.