The National Department of Health and the Solidarity Fund have announced the down payment of $19.2 million (R283 million) to the GAVI vaccine alliance to secure South Africa’s entry into the Covax facility.
The payment was made in line with the fund’s previous allocation of funds and commitment to support the government’s efforts to accelerate the roll-out of vaccines in South Africa, it said in a statement on Tuesday (22 December).
Covax has confirmed South Africa’s entry into the facility. The down payment represents 15% of the total cost of securing access to vaccines for 10% (roughly six million) of the population.
The country’s membership in the Covax facility ensures that South Africa receives its equitable share of the vaccine once it becomes available.
“There can be no doubt that a Covid-19 vaccine will play an important role in helping South Africa manage the virus,” said Gloria Serobe, chairman of the Solidarity Fund.
“The Solidarity Fund was set up for exactly this purpose – to be additive to the work of government and assist in initiatives and programmes that have the greatest impact in the fight against the pandemic. The fund is grateful to be in a position to assist at this crucial juncture.”
The Department of Health will make additional payments in relation to vaccines delivered under the Covax facility as they fall due over the next year, it said.
“It is a privilege to oversee a process that has brought together government, international partners and business for the sole purpose of delivering quality health care to the people of South Africa,” said minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize.
“This is what we have been advocating for when we speak of multi-sectoral collaboration and it is gratifying to see this spirit being harnessed for the good of our people, Africans and the global village.
“We convey our sincere gratitude to the Solidarity Fund for their unwavering support to government to ensure that no-one gets left behind as we seek to protect our most vulnerable citizens against the scourge of Covid-19.”
Mkhize said the collaboration with the CovaxFacility will continue as South Africa ramps up efforts to put the necessary systems and processes in place to ensure that, amongst other health systems strengthening and logistical requirements, the cold supply chain is ready to immunize the population identified.