South Africa is expecting the delivery of its first COVID-19 vaccine doses by the middle of next year, after agreeing on an initial payment.
With over 814,000 confirmed infections in South Africa and more than 22,000 deaths, it is the worst affected country on the African continent and there is a pressing need to administer the vaccine as far and wide and as quickly as possible. However, this will be a massive undertaking, given the expenses, primarily.
The solidarity fund, set up in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, will be contributing about R327 million ($22 million), which will cover roughly 10% of the South African population, according to the health ministry. In addition to this, South Africa will collaborate with the World Health Organisation-backed Covax initiative, which aims to give low-income countries the same access to the vaccine as wealthy nations.The total cost of distributing the vaccine is expected to reach R2 billion.
“Our understanding from the production estimates we have been provided with at this stage is that we should expect to receive the first batch of stock in quarter two of 2021,” the ministry said, as reported by Business Tech.
However, with cases surging in many parts of the country, there is an air of desperation to get the vaccine out as soon as possible and the South African government will also consider buying vaccines from Johnson & Johnson, Novavax Inc, AstraZeneca Plc and the Pfizer Inc and BioNtech partnership.
“While the Covax facility is our favoured vehicle for accessing vaccines, we will always explore all options to ensure that the process of rolling out vaccines is safe and cost-effective,” the ministry said.