South Africa could not afford to falter when it came to rolling out the COVID-19 vaccine. Unfortunately, a series of high-profile blunders have so far undermined efforts to inoculate the population. Although jabs are now being distributed across the country, officials for the Health Department have conceded that their herd immunity targets ‘might have to be altered’.

How many people need to be vaccinated in South Africa?

Zweli Mkhize says government remains committed to vaccinating 65% of the population, or 40 million people, as per the original plan by the end of the year to help the country reach herd immunity. This, he said, is owing to vaccine doses being delivered by the manufacturing companies as per the agreed quarterly schedule when the vaccines were procured.

Ministers in the Social Services cluster appeared before Parliament to respond to oral questions on Wednesday – revealing a clutch of information that isn’t likely to sit well with the general public. It was confirmed by the Health Ministry that ‘delays in supply’ have the potential to knock Mzansi’s vaccine drive off-course – and certain targets may soon be reviewed.

“We are still targeting many of the vaccines to be administered by the end of the year. As we have indicated, we are mindful that some of the supplies can be delayed by the manufacturing companies.”

“Therefore, we will be reviewing whether that target needs to be altered or not. In terms of our original plan, we would like to be able to vaccinate as many of those 40 million people by the end of the year.”

Where will SA’s vaccines come from?

We’ve got a quick breakdown of where our vaccines will come from this year. The first shots to be administered were delivered by Johnson & Johnson, and over the last four weeks, over 127 000 healthcare professionals have been jabbed:

  • – The agreement with Johnson & Johnson is for 11 million doses.
  • – A further 20 million will come from Pfizer.
  • – Another 12 million doses are arriving from COVAX this month.
  • – In total, the government has secured 43 million doses so far – but more will be needed to ‘fully vaccinate’ the population.


Presh JM Reporter

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