South Africa-Health-Vaccination

S/Africa Covid fatalities top 50,000

APA-Pretoria (South Africa)

Over 50,000 South Africans have now died from the coronavirus pandemic, a milestone in the death toll since the disease broke out in March 2020 in the country, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said on Tuesday.

The death toll now stands at 50,077 as the country continues to vaccinate health workers first, targeting 1.5 million of them workers with the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine by the end of March, the minister said.

With 73,047 health workers vaccinated by Monday, however, Mkhize admitted that reaching the target would not be easy. 

The country received the first consignment of 80,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine two weeks ago after dumping the Astra-Zeneca vaccine after realising that its efficacy was not effective against its mutant variant.

Mkhize said more was needed to be done to accelerate the vaccination programme of the healthcare workers in order to reach the targeted figure.

“At this point we have done over 70, 000. That’s a very small number compared to the 1.5 million target that we need to ultimately reach in terms of vaccinating the healthcare workers,” the minister said.

He added: “The first phase is mainly for healthcare workers. The next phase is going to be all frontline workers and the rest of the people who are actually serving the community on a frontline basis and those with comorbidities (other diseases).”

“That phase is going to require us to have more and more vaccines. The last phase will be for everyone,” Mkhize said. 

“With some 1,513,959 Covid-19 cases since the outbreak of the disease, our recoveries now stand at 1,431,336 people, representing a recovery rate of 94.5%,” he added. 

NM/as/APA

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