Africa’s first Covid vaccine shipment will arrive in South Africa
A million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is due to arrive in South Africa on Monday, in the first major shipment of vaccines to Sub-Saharan Africa.
The pandemic has hit South Africa, Africa’s most industrialised nation, harder than any country on the continent.
More than 44,000 people have died in South Africa since the virus was first detected. This amounts to about half of Africa’s official death toll.
The vaccine shots were produced in India and are being shipped to the country through the United Arab Emirates.
Officials say they will be used to inoculate healthcare workers in South Africa over the next three months, with a further 500,000 doses scheduled to arrive later in February.
It is understood that President Cyril Ramaphosa will personally receive the vaccines on Monday when they arrive n Johannesburg, South Africa’s commercial capital.
“The scale of delivery is unprecedented in terms of the number of people who have to be reached within a short space of time,” a presidential spokesperson said.
Over the last few months, South Africa has been struck by a fast-spreading variant of Covid-19 called 501Y.V2. Much like the variant first identified in the UK, 501Y.V2 seems to spread more rapidly than the original version of the virus.