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South African State-owned railway company Transnet has launched a “vaccine train” to help the government deploy and administer doses to people living outside major cities.
Only 14% of South Africans are fully immunized. Associated press reports:

Carrying doctors, nurses and, most importantly, doses of vaccines, its mission is to bring vaccines closer to the inhabitants of the small towns and poorer regions of South Africa, which has the highest number of infections to coronavirus from the continent with more than 2.8 million.

The train is parked at the station in Swartkops, a small town on the south coast of the country, the first stop on a three-month trip through the poor province of the Eastern Cape. There will be about two weeks at a time at seven stations across the province to vaccinate as many people as possible.

A person receives a Covid-19 vaccine on a train at the Swartkops marshalling yard Photograph: Jérôme Delay / AP

The initiative aims to tackle two of the government’s biggest challenges head-on: distributing doses beyond major cities to areas with limited health facilities and trying to convince hesitant people in those areas to get vaccinated.

The train, named Transvaco, can hold up to 108,000 doses of vaccine in ultra-cold refrigerators. It has nine coaches, including accommodation coaches and a staff kitchen and dining room, a vaccination area and consultation rooms.


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