Cabinet has reassured citizens that the vaccination programme is still on track after the country halted its rollout plan of AstraZeneca.
“The Johnson & Johnson vaccine will now be used instead of the AstraZeneca vaccine,” Cabinet said on Wednesday.
The Executive has once again reiterated that the change of plan follows comprehensive research conducted by medical scientists, which showed that AstraZeneca had a minimal efficacy against the 501Y.V2 variant.
Meanwhile, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has proven effective against the 501Y.V2 variant, which is predominately found in the country.
Cabinet has since commended the work of scientists and researchers, who made the breakthrough on the efficacy of the vaccines against the 501Y.V2 variant.
“This affirms the country’s well-established scientific capability that is recognised the world over.”
According to the statement, the procurement of the AstraZeneca vaccine was based on its proven efficacy before the discovery of the 501Y.V2 variant in the country.
Cabinet has already repeated the words of Health Minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize, who said the University of Oxford’s AstraZeneca consignment received from the Serum Institute of India on 1 February 2021 has not expired and is within the period of the rollout of the first phase of the vaccination programme.
Cabinet has expressed confidence on the planned vaccine rollout that will commence with the more than 1.2 million frontline healthcare workers.
“The Department of Health, working with National Treasury, will continue to procure more vaccines to ensure the country achieves its population immunity.”
The Executive is also encouraging the frontline workers to self-register on the Electronic Vaccine Data System (https://vaccine.enroll.health.gov.za/#/) for their vaccination.
In addition, they are making a call to all citizen to keep on adhering to the safety measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 infections by avoiding large gatherings, washing hands with water and soap or a 70% alcohol-based sanitiser, wearing masks in public places and maintaining the 1.5 metres social distance.
Cabinet said the country’s vaccination programme to prevent the spread of COVID-19 remains a priority.