A medic introduces the procedure of COVID-19 testing to citizens in Johannesburg, South Africa, April 8, 2020. The number of COVID-19 cases in South Africa has risen steadily over the past fews days amid massive community testing in a 21-day national lockdown. The country reported a total of 1,749 cases as of Tuesday, an increase of over 60 from Monday's announcement, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said. (Photo by Shiraaz/Xinhua)
A medic introduces the procedure of COVID-19 testing to citizens in Johannesburg, South Africa, April 8, 2020. The number of COVID-19 cases in South Africa has risen steadily over the past fews days amid massive community testing in a 21-day national lockdown. The country reported a total of 1,749 cases as of Tuesday, an increase of over 60 from Monday's announcement, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said. (Photo by Shiraaz/Xinhua)

South African Department of Health on Saturday said the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out is going well with a total of 63,648 people vaccinated in a week since the program started.

“The Sisonke (Together) program is outperforming original targets for number of vaccines delivered in its first week and is set to continue this momentum in its second week as more sites come online,” said Department of Health spokesperson Popo Maja.In the first week, 18 vaccination sites have been set up from scratch, and complex logistics, including cold-chain management, were implemented, with distribution of vaccines and vial filling being carried out smoothly, said the spokesperson. They have also trained additional health workers, set up an online electronic registration system and ensured the safe and timely vaccination of healthcare professionals, he said. “We will endeavour to ensure that all healthcare workers are vaccinated in a timely and fair way, starting with patient-facing healthcare workers who are at the highest risk of contracting severe COVID-19,” he said.

Maja said they welcome the news about the single dose of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine, of which South Africa has received two batches in February, and was expecting more doses early in March. South Africa is among the worst-hit African countries in terms of the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths, according to the Ethiopia-based Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. On Feb. 17, South Africa’s healthcare workers started inoculation against COVID-19 in Cape Town, marking the start of the country’s vaccination program.

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