Covid-19: Vaccinations to open for those over 35, says acting health minister

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  • Those aged 35 to 49 will be able to register for a Covid-19 vaccine from 15 July.
  • Vaccinations for this group will open in August, in a staggered approach.
  • The health department aims to vaccinate 250 000 people by the end of next week.

Registrations for the next phase of the country's Covid-19 vaccine drive, aimed at people aged between 35 and 49, will open on 15 July. 

This was announced by acting Health Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi during a weekly briefing on Friday.

The vaccination of this cohort will begin on 1 August.

The health department and private healthcare companies are currently vaccinating people aged 50 and above, healthcare workers, teachers and police officers on a mass scale.

READ | More than 350 000 people sign up for vaccine on first day of registration for over-50s age group

"We are ramping our vaccination rollout programme so that the vaccine can reach the majority of our population, so that more people can be protected from the impact of this virus," said Kubayi.

The rollout out of the vaccinations to the 35+ age group is likely to be staggered, added department Director-General Dr Sandile Buthelezi.

Vaccination rates rising

Meanwhile, the department is ramping up its vaccine efforts, with the aim of reaching a quarter of a million people daily by the end of next week.

"We are encouraged that the number of vaccinations per day surpassed 191 000 [on Thursday] and we are expecting to surpass 250 000 by the end of next week," said Kubayi.

This has increased from around 85 000 daily doses administered around 10 days ago. The department is aiming to administer at least 300 000 doses daily by the end of August, said Deputy Director-General, Dr Nicholas Crisp.

On Thursday, the health department had administered more than four million vaccine doses.

Crisp said on Friday that 3 034 576 South Africans had been vaccinated.  

"What this means, is that together with the Sisonke study, we have reached 5.6% of the population with at least one dose of the vaccine. Obviously that is way too low to achieve herd immunity," he said.

"Around half of those in the 60+ age group have been reached."

There are currently just under 2 600 public and private vaccination sites, with more expected to be activated in the coming weeks, Crisp added.

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