South Africa set to receive another 20 million ‘surprise’ Covid-19 vaccine doses

 ·31 Jan 2021
Zweli Mkhize South African Minister of Health

South Africa is set to receive an additional 20 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine from pharmaceutical giant Pfizer.

Health minister Zweli Mkhize told the Sunday Times that these vaccines have been secured and that government was now just awaiting manufacturers to submit final agreements with details of delivery dates and exact amounts.

Further vaccine orders would be announced once details had been finalised, Mkhize said.

“We are negotiating, largely with Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, but some of it is coming via the African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team and Covax.

“We are reasonably comfortable that what we have paid for, signed for and are negotiating for will cover the numbers that we are looking to vaccinate,” he said.

Mkhize also confirmed that the country has enough storage space to safely secure the vaccines at the correct temperatures, and that government plans to issue a formal tender process next week.

First vaccines are coming

Mkhize’s surprise announcement would mean that the country has secured the supply of over 40 million vaccine doses, bringing it much closer to the goal of vaccinating two-thirds of the population.

In a briefing on Wednesday evening (27 January), Mkhize confirmed that one million dosages of the vaccine are scheduled to leave India on Sunday (31 January) and will arrive in the country on Monday (1 February).

A further 500,000 vaccine doses are set to arrive in the country later in February.

Below are the other key points from the briefing.

  • South Africa will begin vaccinating by targeting its 1.25 million health workers and the most vulnerable;
  • The target is to vaccinate 67% of the population by the end of the year so as to achieve herd immunity;
  • Government remains the sole purchaser of vaccines and will distribute it to provincial governments and the private sector;
  • The vaccination system will be based on a pre-vaccination registration and appointment system;
  • All those vaccinated will be placed on a national register and provided with a vaccination card.

Read: Momentum to offer Covid-19 vaccines to South African employees through their work

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