S.Africa targets 300,000 vaccines a day

A South African health worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine.
A South African health worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine.

South Africa aims to more than double its rate of daily COVID-19 vaccinations over the next month to more than 200,000.

The country's vaccination campaign has started slowly, set back by the revelation that AstraZeneca's vaccine is much less effective against the dominant local coronavirus variant.

The government found it difficult to secure supplies from other manufacturers given huge global demand.

So far, only 2.5 million vaccinations have been administered - using either the one-shot Johnson&Johnson vaccine or the two-shot Pfizer alternative - out of a population of 60 million people, health ministry data shows.

"Now we are able to do, and we have done, just over 100,000 a day for the last two days," Nicholas Crisp, a senior official involved in the vaccine rollout, said.

"Our target for next week is to get up to 150,000 a day, and by mid-July 200,000 a day with a target by the end of July of being able to have enough resources in the field to do 250,000 vaccinations a day.

"The president has asked us to chase a target of 300,000 a day, and all of us in the vaccination response program are going to work hard to try and get to that point."

Acting health minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane said Pfizer had delivered nearly 4.5 million vaccine doses in the second quarter and had committed to provide more than 15.5 million doses in the third quarter, including nearly 2.1 million doses in July.

In total South Africa has secured 30 million Pfizer shots and 31 million from J&J.

Australian Associated Press