By Chanel Retief
Topline: South Africa’s Department of Health has indicated that the process to roll out the SARS-COV-2 vaccine will start this month. A million doses of the vaccine will come from the Serum Institute of India (SII).
- In addition to the million, the department has stated that they will also get 500,000 doses from the SII in February.
- South African Health Minister, Dr. Zweli Mkhize, said in a statement on Thursday that the government will be prioritizing health workers by ensuring that they receive the vaccine by February.
- South Africa has entered the second wave of the pandemic, reporting over 20,000 new cases on Wednesday, January 6.
- The department has been in talks with the SII but could not disclose any details regarding the deal with the institute for the Oxford University-AstraZeneca vaccines.
- When briefing Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Thursday morning, Mkihze further said that the department did approach several vaccine manufacturers and discussions are at a “sensitive stage” and believes those talks to be concluded very soon.
- It is still unclear the exact dates when South Africa will receive these vaccines and when they will be rolled out to the public.
- What has been made clear, however, is that medical schemes and the government have come up with a plan that will cover the vaccination against the virus, according toRadio 702.
- “It’s mandatory for medical schemes to pay for the Covid-19 vaccine,” Dr Ryan Noach, CEO at Discovery Health, on Radio 702.
- In addition to this, President Cyril Ramaphosa tweeted on Wednesday that Canada may share any excess stock with South Africa.
Countries that have received the Covid-19 vaccine so far:
“We are happy that the SII/Astra Zeneca vaccine has already been approved by various regulators and is being rolled out in other countries. Therefore, as part of expediting the regulatory process, the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) is applying reliance on that regulatory work,” said Mkhize in his statement on Thursday.