Good news at last on a busy day in South Africa – acting Health Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane has confirmed that the country’s vaccine rollout is set for a major, welcome boost, with people between the ages of 35 and 49-years-old able to register for their COVID-19 jab from 15 July.
She also announced that vaccines will at last be administered over weekends from 1 August, with the Democratic Alliance (DA) welcoming this development and saying that thousands of lives will be saved as a result.
Vaccine rollout builds up steam
During a press briefing on Friday 9 July, Kubayi-Ngubane said that with South Africa currently administering around 199 000 COVID-19 vaccines each day – with the target of 250 000 a day set for next week – signs are promising that the rollout is finally beginning to build up steam.
“As we are opening the new age groups, we are receiving a number of requests with people are asking us to prioritise a certain sector,” she said.
“We will continue to approach the vaccine rollout according to age sectors, but we are reviewing this. We do believe that the age process continues to be the best. It will continue to allow us to reach more, South Africans.”
Weekend vaccinations to kick off in August
DA Shadow Minister for Finance, Geordin Hill-Lewis said in a statement on Friday that he is “thrilled” with the announcement that vaccination clinics will operate seven days a week from 1 August, following a meeting between the National Treasury and the Department of Health.
“When we vaccinate more than one million extra people every month, because we vaccinate over weekends, then this will undoubtedly mean thousands of lives saved over the coming year,” he said.
“We are pleased that the pressure brought to bear by the DA and civil society in recent weeks has had the intended effect, resulting in today’s announcement.”