President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that South Africa will be receiving its first consignment of Covid-19 vaccines from the Serum Institute in India. The Serum Institute is the world’s largest vaccine producer.
Writing in his weekly open letter to the people of South Africa, Ramaphosa said that the consignment will signal the start of a mass vaccination campaign that will be the most ambitious and extensive in the country’s history.
“It will reach all parts of the country and will be phased to ensure that those most in need are prioritised. The first vaccines to arrive will be provided to health care workers, who will be targeted in the first phase,” he said.
“The second phase will include essential workers, teachers, the elderly and those with co-morbidities. The third phase will include other adults in the population.”
The president said that a comprehensive rollout strategy and an accompanying logistical framework must be implemented in partnership with the private sector, civil society, traditional leadership, the religious sector and others.
“It is vital that this is a society-wide campaign, in which everyone is involved and no-one is left behind,” he said.
President Ramaphosa has also pledged transparency in government’s dealings with vaccine manufacturers and the various initiatives.
“As we did with the announcement on the Serum Institute, the details of deals with manufacturers will be released as and when negotiations are concluded and we are released from the terms of the communication of the non-disclosure agreements.
“This is commonplace in such circumstances, and most governments have had to comply with similar restrictions,” he said.
The president said that throughout the pandemic, government has been open and transparent with the South African people on the health measures it is taking to secure the safety of South Africans.
He added that the government will work to improve all its channels of communication, to keep the public regularly informed on the development of the vaccination programme, to provide information that is accurate and factual, and to continue to engage with and listen to the broad range of voices in our society.
“We have a massive task ahead of us, probably far greater than any of us has ever undertaken before.
“But if we work together, if we support and trust each other and if we keep the lines of communication open, we will certainly succeed.”