Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has announced on Tuesday evening, 1 June 2021, that one million have received the COVID-19 vaccine, which means government may finally be making strides in the roll-out.
These individuals have received either a single-dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine or the first of the double-dose Pfizer vaccine.
“It is my pleasure to announce that we have breached the million mark and have vaccinated 1,045,104 individuals. I wish to thank all involved in the vaccination campaign, from the director-general of health to each and every vaccinator continuing to battle it out for the nation on the front line. We will continue to ramp up daily vaccinations, working together with the private sector towards attaining the targets we have committed to”
Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize
Mkhize said of those vaccinated, 479 768 were administered jabs under the Sisonke protocol while 565 336 vaccinations were part of Phase 2 of the roll-out programme.
A tough task for Mkhize: Is SA’s COVID-19 vaccine roll-out on track?
While the fact that South Africa has officially recorded a million vaccinations is a noteworthy milestone – the pace at which these vaccines have been administered has been rather slow, compared to other countries. Zweli Mkhize’s constant assurances of the vaccine roll-out being ramped up soon has done little to relieve critics like opposition parties and citizens in general.
As per the initial forecast, all 1,2 million healthcare workers in the country should have been vaccinated by 16 May 2021, under Phase 1. Now with Phase 2 having been underway for a little over two weeks, Mkhize and his department are under more pressure than ever to up the numbers and eventually have vaccinated about 40 million South Africans by February 2022.
On the COVID-19 front, Mkhize announced that the country had picked up 3 614 new cases of the respiratory disease over the past 24 hours, which takes the cumulative number of infections since the start of the pandemic to 1 669 231. The country’s death toll has also risen to 56 601, after 95 more people were reported to have lost their lives.
Of the newly recorded fatalities, 44 were in Gauteng, 27 in the Free State, nine in the Western Cape, seven in the Northern Cape, five in KwaZulu-Natal and three were in the Eastern Cape.