South Africa receives first batch of COVID-19 vaccine from India

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South Africa on Monday, February 1, received the first batch of AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines that are expected to aid the country in combating the pandemic.

An Emirates flight carrying 1 million AstraZeneca vaccine doses touched down at the OR Tambo International Airport on Monday afternoon.

President Cyril Rampahosa reportedly inspected the shipment before trucks hauled it away to the laboratories of the country’s medicines regulator where the vaccines will undergo further efficacy tests before being deployed.

The AstraZeneca vaccine doses produced by the Serum Institute of India are expected to be used to inoculate frontline healthcare workers, starting mid-February.

The government intends to inoculate 40 million people, representing 67% of the country’s population of 60 million, by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, South Africa is the hardest-hit African country by the COVID-19 pandemic, having reported 1,453,761 infections with 44,164 deaths.