It’s been a momentous day for South Africa, after the first million shots of the AstraZeneca vaccine arrived on our shores. The much-publicised event even saw Cyril Ramaphosa turn up to inspect the delivery receipt. Now the inoculations are safely inside our borders, they still have a bit more travel to do before they end up in someone’s arm…
Where the vaccine will go from here?
India to OR Tambo, via Dubai – COMPLETED
On Monday afternoon, the consignment of one million vaccines touched down at OR Tambo International Airport, after departing from India and stopping in Dubai. The flight-path has playfully been branded ‘The Gupta Route’, given the brothers’ dubious connections to all three locations
OR Tambo to Biovac’s Johannesburg storage facility – TAKING PLACE ON MONDAY
The vaccines will go to a Biovac cold-storage warehouse in Johannesburg. They will be placed in a cold-room “receiving area”, which strictly has to remain at two-to-eight degrees celsius. There will be three cold-rooms used to store the vials. There is an enormous security operation in place to prevent the facility from being impacted by crime.
Joburg to Bloemfontein – PENDING
Selected doses will be taken to the National Control Laboratory (NCL) for testing in Bloemfontein. The truck carrying the vaccine must be equipped for cold storage. The rest of the vaccines will remain in storage at the Biovac warehouse.
Back from Bloemfontein, to Johannesburg, and off to ‘distribution points’ – PENDING
If all is well with the NCL testing, the samples will get the green-light, allowing all supplies to be sent off to every corner of South Africa. The Health Department has a list of centres that will handle and distribute the vaccine. These will be #central points within provinces for onward distribution’, or ‘specific points of use such as hospitals or pharmacies’.
Morena Makhoana, CEO of Biovac, told health experts Bhekisisa how the roll-out would progress:
“Once we get clearance from the NCL that means we can fulfill orders. By the time the NCL gives us the go-ahead, we’ll have a comprehensive list [from the health department] of when and where to deliver. The list is being updated right now.”
When will the first dose be administered?
- The vaccine samples are set to arrive in Bloemfontein on Tuesday 2 February.
- The tests are likely to take a week or so, with Tuesday 9 February being the earliest possible date for results.
- We are working with a timescale of ’10 to 14 days’, in getting the first dose administered – anywhere between 12 – 15 February.
- Rest assured, there will be plenty of fanfare once the vaccine is ready for use. You won’t miss the update, we guarantee it.