Phaahla says the target is to vaccinate at least 28 million people by end December

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Health Minister Joe Phaahla
Health Minister Joe Phaahla
Gallo Images/Sydney Seshibedi
  • The government hopes to vaccinate more people per day at its sites.
  • Joe Phaahla says just under 6.5 million people have been fully vaccinated. 
  • He says the vaccination programme is moving steadily. 

The government has set itself an ambitious target of vaccinating at least 28 million adults by the end of December 2021, according to Health Minister Joe Phaahla.

On Monday, the minister said the vaccination programme was progressing steadily throughout the country. As of Sunday night, 10 million people had been vaccinated. 

"I think just 9.95 million or so, but by this evening we will have crossed the 10 million individuals vaccinated - out of whom, as of yesterday (Sunday), just under 6.5 million had been fully vaccinated, either with the one dose of Johnson & Johnson or with the two doses of the Pfizer vaccine," Phaahla said.

He was speaking during a media briefing to announce the premiere date of a new documentary, which takes viewers inside a Covid-19 hospital in Pretoria during the peak of the pandemic in the country. 

READ | Adriaan Basson: Being pro-vaccine is not progressive; it's normal

The documentary, Zero to Zero, is set to be broadcast on DStv Premium's M-Net channel on 4 October at 20:30.

It follows the staff of Zuid-Afrikaans Hospital (ZAH) - a non-profit hospital in Muckleneuk in Pretoria - in action as they race against time to save the lives of patients infected with Covid-19. 

Phaahla hailed the film and the people behind it, saying he hoped it would motivate people to vaccinate to fight the deadly virus.

He said:

We still have a long way to go because our desired target is to reach at least 28 million of 18 and above South Africans by middle of December, or, at the very latest, by the end of December. So, we are still short of at least 18 million new recipients of the vaccines.

Phaahla said the average daily vaccinations in the last week was around 250 000 doses, including the first or second dose of Pfizer as well as the single dose of Johnson & Johnson.

He said they were happy with the daily vaccinations, but had set a target of improving it to 300 000 a day.

ALSO READ | 'I fell behind in school' - Covid-19 survivor, 19, gets his jab

Phaahla said it was appreciated that people were getting their jabs, but there was still a long way to go.

He added that the government was making the process as easy as possible, including making the vaccine more accessible. 

The minister said he hoped the documentary would be used to mobilise South Africans to play their part in fighting the pandemic and bringing it to an end. 

He said: 

I believe that this documentary will help us to bring hope to all South Africans that we all can do something. There is hope and that, if we all play our role, we could relieve the pressure on our very exhausted healthcare workers, and ultimately, taking our vaccines [and] observing all the non-pharmaceutical interventions, we could reach the second zero. As to how soon, I hope the documentary brings hope that it is, indeed, in our hands.
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