With 300 000 Johnson & Johnson vaccines set aside for teachers, the government has set an ambitious target of vaccinating 499 000 teachers within 10 days, starting hopefully next week.
On 2 June, J&J approached the Department of Health, indicating that 479 800 doses of vaccines in the United States were potentially available to South Africa.
During Thursday’s briefing to the health portfolio committee, the department’s technical advisor Dr. Aquina Thulare said the target group included teachers, administrative and support staff at all schools, irrespective of age.
The vaccines are expected to arrive in the country by Friday.
Thulare said the vaccine expires on 11 July and is to be used by 10 July.
The department had also received confirmation from each province that they could administer their allocations, Thulare said.
She said the vaccines were expected by late afternoon on Friday, and that the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) exemption on labelling had been approved.
On Friday, the department will meet with provincial departments to finalise plans, and distribution to provinces is expected to start on Tuesday.
The GMO certificate had been received, Thulare said.
She also said that plans were at an advanced stage for the vaccination of police officers and armed forces members.
Meanwhile, the cumulative number of cases reported in the country currently stands at 1 774 312, reflecting a 0.75% increase, with 13 246 new cases reported over the past 24 hours.
Thulare said, nationally, the cumulative number of recoveries had increased by 0.24% in the past 24 hours, to 1 620 317.
“This represents a recovery rate of 91.3%. There are currently 95 772 active cases in the country, reflecting a 10.72% increase in active cases over the past 24 hours.
“The total admissions in both public and private hospitals is 8 727, which represents a 4.4% increase over the past 24 hours. Hospitalisations have breached the 8000 marks, the first time this has been recorded since February 2021,” she said.
According to the department, the national case fatality rate (CFR) as of 16 June was 3.3%.
“The total cumulative number of deaths 58 223 reflecting an increase of 136 reported deaths as of 18:00 [16 June]. The majority of cases reported were from Gauteng, which accounted for 7 859 (59,3%) new cases, followed by the Western Cape with 1 402 (10,6%), North West with 917 (6.9%), the Free State with 617 (4.7%) and KwaZulu-Natal with 592 (4.5%),” Thulare said.
Provinces with the lowest proportion of new cases were Mpumalanga with 4.1%, Eastern Cape with 3.8%, Northern Cape with 3.2%, and Limpopo with 2.9%.