WATCH | Covid-19: First batch of vaccines arrive in SA

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  • The plane carrying the first consignment of Covid-19 vaccines has landed in South Africa amid a phalanx of police and law enforcement officers.
  • The government is aiming to vaccinate 67% of the country's population to obtain herd immunity to defeat the virus.
  • President Cyril Ramaphosa and his deputy, David Mabuza, were at the airport to accept and inspect the delivery.

The plane carrying the first consignment of Covid-19 vaccines landed in South Africa on Monday afternoon amid a phalanx of police and law enforcement officers. 

President Cyril Ramaphosa and Deputy President David Mabuza were at OR Tambo International Airport to accept and inspect the delivery on a rainy afternoon in Johannesburg.

Mabuza chairs the inter-ministerial committee on vaccines and will oversee the rolling out of the programme, including guarding its R21 billion budget.

ALSO READ | Q&A: The vaccines are on the way. Here's what will happen when it gets here

Ramaphosa and Mabuza were joined by Health Minister Zweli Mkhize, acting Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni and High Commissioner of the Republic of India Jaideep Sarkar.

Dr Morena Makhoana, the chief executive officer of Biovac, was also at the airport.

Biovac is a bio-pharmaceutical company that was formed in 2003 in partnership between the government and private investors to establish a local vaccine manufacturing capability.

The government said Biovac would play an important role in the quality assurance, warehousing and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines.  

The vaccine was developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University and is produced for distribution by the Serum Institute of India.

On Sunday, the government announced that the arrival of the consignment of the vaccine marked the start of the vaccine rollout which Ramaphosa described as the largest and most complex logistical vaccine undertaking in the country's history.   

It is aiming to vaccine 67% of the country's population to obtain herd immunity to defeat the virus.

The first phase of the rollout programme will prioritise around 1.2 million frontline health workers.

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