Ramaphosa says vaccination a 'patriotic duty'

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President Cyril Ramaphosa
President Cyril Ramaphosa
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  • President Cyril Ramaphosa says vaccination against Covid-19 is a "patriotic duty".
  • He has paid tribute to healthcare workers and people going for their vaccinations.
  • The latest vaccine deliveries mean South Africa has a "comfortable supply" of vaccines.

Vaccination against Covid-19 was a "patriotic duty", President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Monday.

"By going out and getting vaccinated, we aren't just protecting ourselves. We are performing a patriotic duty to our country and our fellow citizens," he wrote in his weekly newsletter to the country.

He said he met healthcare workers and people waiting to be vaccinated last week and was encouraged that many South Africans were being vaccinated.

About three million people in South Africa have been fully vaccinated, with an average of 220 000 jabs a day and more than 7.5 million doses administered.

He said nearly 1.5 million doses of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine were handed to the Department of Health in the last couple of days.

Over the past weekend, a donation of 5.66 million Pfizer vaccine doses from the US government started arriving in South Africa.

READ | Covid-19: SA receives 2.8 million Pfizer vaccine doses from the US

The first Covid-19 vaccines produced in Africa were released by Aspen Pharmacare from its flagship manufacturing plant in Gqeberha last week.

Ramaphosa said these will be made available to the rest of the continent through the African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team, set up during South Africa's tenure as African Union chair.

"Thanks to the efforts of all involved in the multi-sectoral vaccine acquisition response, we now have a comfortable supply of stocks to vaccinate our population," Ramaphosa said.

About 3 000 vaccination sites have been set up around the country for people 35 and older, healthcare workers and certain employees.

To meet demand, several sites around the country are now operating over weekends, and many innovations - like vaccination drive-throughs and mobile vaccination units - are in operation.

Ramaphosa said he was impressed by the level of professionalism at government and private vaccination sites, and by how many people accepted the need to be vaccinated.

Ramaphosa said that according to the latest National Income Dynamics Study (NIDS) Coronavirus Rapid Mobile Survey (CRAM), only 1 in 10 South Africans believed that Covid-19 vaccines were unsafe.

"Indeed, vaccines are safe. They are our best protection against this disease, and the national vaccination programme is our surest guarantee of a swift health and economic recovery," he said.

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