South Africa: Jab drive-through centre set up at carpark in Johannesburg

A drive-through centre has been set up in the parking lot of the Houghton Mosque in Johannesburg, in an effort to fast-track South Africa’s COVID-19 vaccination programme.

The site opened this week and has been administering over 700 Johnson and Johnson vaccinations per day, organisers said.

The mosque was chosen on the basis that it would provide a space that people are “comfortable with”, explained Yaseen Theba, chairman of the Muslim Association of South Africa.

He added that the location has allowed the team to vaccinate in a sterile area, while also dealing with hesitancy issues.

“It was frightening at first because you wasn’t sure what to expect, but it was quick,” Johannesburg resident Tumi Sedumedi said. “I’m so relieved that I got it.”

Gauteng Province, which incorporates Johannesburg, has increased the number of vaccination sites to 660, as the campaign ramps up.

The nationwide vaccination programme has “come a long way with many struggles”, particularly with “trying to get doses”, Mosa Mashabela, professor of Public Health at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, told The Associated Press.

However, since the government rollout began in mid-May there have been “steady improvements” with around 200,000 people vaccinated each day, he said.

According to the Department of Health, 7,504,373 vaccine doses have been administered so far across the country.

Of those, 190,832 were administered on Friday.

The country has had over 71,400 deaths from COVID-19, according to the Johns Hopkins University tally.

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