Covid-19 vaccine South Africa
(Photo by Alet Pretorius/Gallo Images via Getty Images)
  • More than 1.5 million South Africans – 2.55% of the entire population – had received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine by Tuesday 8 June.
  • Almost a third of these were Johnson & Johnson jabs administered to healthcare workers during the Sisonke Project.
  • The Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, and Free State are the only provinces exceeding the national average.
  • Mpumalanga continues to record the slowest pace, with just 1.24% of the population having received at least one dose.
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South Africa's Covid-19 vaccine rollout has plateaued at around 80,000 doses per day due to supply constraints emanating from the protracted Johnson & Johnson (J&) embargo.

South Africa hopes to vaccinate 67% of the population, representing some 40 million people, by the first quarter of 2022. To achieve this, at least 120,000 doses need to be administered daily. And while the daily average, recorded since the rollout began in mid-February, is currently less than 13,000, South Africa achieved its highest vaccination rate on Monday, administering 82,641 doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

But it's unlikely that this daily rate will surge without the release of South Africa's J&J vaccine doses, which have been quarantined at Aspen's processing facility in Gqeberha pending approval from the United States' Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The regulator is investigating whether batches of the vaccine have been produced with contaminated ingredients obtained from Emergent BioSolutions' production plant in the US. The investigation has been ongoing since April. South Africa has ordered 31 million doses of the J&J vaccine, nearly 10% of which were due to be delivered before the end of June.

More than 1.5 million South Africans – or 2.55% of the total population – had received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine by Tuesday 8 June. Nearly a third of all these doses were administered during the Sisonke Project which targeted frontline healthcare workers using the J&J jab. Less than 1% of the population is fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

Phase 2 of the vaccine rollout, which uses the Pfizer vaccine and prioritises citizens over the age of 60, passed the one million mark on Tuesday.

"In the near future we will launch a fully interactive dashboard for vaccinations," noted South Africa's director general of health, Sandile Buthelezi, on Tuesday. This digital dashboard, which will be hosted on South Africa's official Covid-19 web portal, is expected to track the number of doses administered in each province.

The dashboard will also track the number of individuals vaccinated according to a seven-day rolling average.

Data provided by the health department's preview of the vaccination dashboard on Tuesday revealed that the Western Cape had overtaken KwaZulu-Natal as the most vaccinated province, calculated as a percentage of the total provincial population.

Covid-19 vaccine South Africa
Vaccination statistics provided by the department of health on 8 June. Population estimates by Statistics SA (Mid-year population estimates, 2020)

Densely populated provinces have the highest counts, due in part to the number of active vaccination sites. The total number of national sites, as listed by the health department on 4 June, number at least 471. More than 66% of these sites are based in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, and the Western Cape.

Mpumalanga continues to record the slowest rollout as a percentage of the province's total population. Just 20,000 vaccine doses have been administered in the province in the last week. More doses have been administered in the Free State and North West, which are less populated than Mpumalanga.

(Compiled by Luke Daniel)

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