At President Ramaphosa’s “family meeting” speech on national TV on Tuesday March 30, he addressed the country’s much-discussed vaccination programme, seen by the tourism, travel and hospitality industries as a vital first step towards the restarting of those industries.
Although there have been delays in securing vaccine supplies, government was still confident in achieving its vaccination targets, said the President.
He noted that South Africa had begun Phase 1 of its vaccination programme in February (the vaccination of health workers), which was on track to be completed within three months.
“More than 250 000 health workers have to date received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as part of the Sisonke trial. We have secured 11m doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which we know to be effective against the dominant variants in our country,” President Ramaphosa said, adding that a further 20m doses from J&J were expected.
“We are also finalising an agreement for 20m doses of the Pfizer vaccine, which requires two doses. Together, this supply of vaccines will provide us with enough doses to vaccinate 41m people,” he added, highlighting that further announcements would be made soon, once negotiations had been concluded.
The President said Phase 2 of the programme was scheduled to start mid-May, reiterating that government would ensure it had sufficient doses of effective vaccines to reach population immunity in the shortest possible time.
“We believe that sufficient volumes from manufacturers will be arriving in the quantities as agreed in terms of our agreements with them,” he said.
Despite fears of closures of beaches and parks, the President made only small changes to the existing Level 1 lockdown regulations – the announcement that off-site sales of alcohol will be prohibited on Friday April 2, Saturday April 3, Sunday April 4 and Monday April 5. On-site consumption of alcohol may continue as before, up to 23h00.