More than one million people aged 60 and older, have been administered the first shot of the Pfizer vaccine against COVID-19- something which the Department of Health has described as a significant milestone in the country’s vaccination drive.

The department is now temporarily being led by Tourism Minister Mamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, after Dr Zweli Mkhize was placed on special leave.

Director-General Dr Sandile Buthelezi said despite the shift in leadership would have no bearing on the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out.

“As director-general, I wish to reassure the nation that we remain committed and capable of managing the Covid-19 pandemic, executing a ramped up vaccination programme and running the national programmes, as we are led by the acting minister of health, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane,” said Buthelezi.

“Our spirits were lifted today when we learnt that we have officially vaccinated over 1 million senior citizens aged 60 years and above under phase two. We must convey our appreciation to the senior citizens who have, and continue, to come forward in their numbers to be vaccinated”

Department of Health’s Director-General Dr Sandile Buthelezi

Incoming news on the COVID-19 vaccine front

The Department of Health’s Dr Sandile Buthelezi has further thanked healthcare workers and others responsible for implementing the vaccine roll-out across the country.

“There are a number of developments on the vaccination front which we will communicate in a public webinar this week, on a date to be confirmed,” Buthelezi said.

He has expressed gratitude to the country’s senior citizens who continue coming forward to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

At the same time, the health department has also announced that the country managed to record 4 209 new cases of COVID-19, which takes the national count since the start of the pandemic to 1 704 058. On a more sombre note, 120 more people are reported to have succumbed to the respiratory disease, putting the death toll at 57 183.

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Presh JM Reporter

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