Saturday, 20 March 2021 15:26

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

Sixty-thousand additional Johnson & Johnson vaccines have arrived in South Africa.

The aircraft carrying the consignment from Switzerland touched down at OR Tambo International Airport on Saturday morning.

This as government looks to complete the first phase of its vaccination programme involving healthcare workers in the public and private sectors.

At least 182 983 healthcare workers have been vaccinated since the arrival of the first batch of vaccines in February.

As of Friday, the total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in South Africa 1 535 423, with 1 462 new cases recorded since the last report.

The country has also recorded 311 more Covid-19 related deaths: 1 from Eastern Cape, 21 from Free State, 21 from Gauteng, 138 from KwaZulu-Natal, 43 from Limpopo, 6 from Mpumalanga, 65 from North West, 3 from Northern Cape and 13 from Western Cape.

This brings the total number of deaths to 52 035.

The total number of recoveries is 1 461 196, representing a recovery rate of 95%.

Government has set aside a budget of R9 billion towards funding the free Covid-19 vaccination programme in the medium term, with the rollout expected to gather pace in the second half of the year.

This brings the vaccine rollout costs to a total of R10.3 billion for the current year, as an additional R1.3 billion was allocated in the current financial year.

The country has signed an agreement with Johnson & Johnson to secure 11 million doses, said President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Of these doses, 2.8 million doses will be delivered in the second quarter and the rest spread throughout the year, said Ramaphosa.

South Africa also secured 20 million doses from Pfizer, which will be delivered from the second quarter, and 12 million vaccine doses from the Covax facility.