Covid-19 vaccines have not yet arrived in SA, health department confirms

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Picture for illustration. Picture: iStock

While speculation grows that the first batches of South Africa’s Covid-19 vaccines have arrived in the country, the Department of Health on Wednesday confirmed that the shots from the Serum Institute of India (SII) had not landed on home soil yet.

This after reports emerged that a charter cargo plane from Mumbai landed at OR Tambo International Airport on Tuesday morning, possibly carrying the inoculations.

The 1.5 million doses from the SII are expected to arrive in South Africa before the end of January. Government is also expecting another 500,000 doses to be flown out in February.

Speaking to The Citizen, deputy director-general of the department, Dr Anban Pillay, confirmed that the vaccines had not arrived as yet.

He said the start of SA’s vaccination programme would depend on the exact day of vaccine arrivals.

“Samples have to be taken to lab to check quality before distribution. This takes a few days for the quality tests,” Pillay said.

The Citizen