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Mobile sites‚ load-shedding and side-effects: Zweli Mkhize’s update on vaccine rollout

Health minister Zweli Mkhize explained the vaccination process during a briefing at the Royal Showgrounds in Pietermaritzburg on Tuesday.

He was joined by provincial health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu to launch phase two of the Covid-19 inoculation programme.

The second phase targets healthcare workers who did not receive the jab during phase one under the Sisonke programme and citizens over the age of 60.

The minister announced on Sunday that more than two million people had registered for vaccination. He said the process would be off to a slow start with only 87 sites open to allow for the smooth running of the programme during its initial stages. He said the department hopes to open 200 sites by the end of the week.

On Tuesday‚ the minister detailed the differences between the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and Pfizer jabs.

Here are important quotes from his address:

Mobile sites

“We will arrange mobile vaccination sites in local clinics and community halls to ensure those who are eligible are vaccinated.”

Types of vaccinations

“We have the Pfizer vaccine which is administered in two doses. The estimated waiting period between the first and second dose is three weeks‚ but studies from the UK show people can wait for up to three months before they receive the second dose as this improves immunity. Those who get the J&J vaccine will only receive a single dose.”
Targeting people over 60

“We want to start with people over the age of 60 to avoid long queues at vaccination sites and reduce exposure to the coronavirus. After this‚ we will target people over the age of 40 because they also have a higher risk of contracting Covid-19 due to comorbidities.”


“Load-shedding created a challenge with the electronic vaccination data system. It did not affect the cold chain because we had already prepared contingency arrangements so there is no chance the cold chain can be broken. We had to use manual records but this does not derail our system.”


“We don’t have severe side-effects that have been reported. We urge you to report if you experience severe symptoms.”

Source: ARENA Holdings.