SA to get first million doses of Covid-19 vaccine this month: Zweli Mkhize

Health minister says his department has reached an agreement with the Serum Institute of India for the first batch of doses, for front-line workers

07 January 2021 - 12:44
Health minister Zweli Mkhize on Thursday announced that the country will receive its first million doses of a Covid-19 vaccine this month. File photo.
Health minister Zweli Mkhize on Thursday announced that the country will receive its first million doses of a Covid-19 vaccine this month. File photo.
Image: Dado Ruvic/Reuters

Health minister Zweli Mkhize on Thursday announced that the country will receive its first million doses of a Covid-19 vaccine this month.

Mkhize was addressing the portfolio committee on health on the country's Covid-19 vaccine programme.

He said his department had reached an agreement with the Serum Institute of India for the first batch of doses, for front-line workers.

“Today we announce that South Africa will be receiving the first one million doses of vaccine in January and another 500,000 in February from the Serum Institute of India,” said Mkhize.

“As recently as yesterday, our teams from the department of health as well as the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority were fine-tuning and aligning all the regulations and processes to ensure that there are no unnecessary delays or impediments to activate this rollout.

“We are all happy that the Serum Institute of India and the AstraZeneca vaccine have already been approved by various regulators and is being rolled out in other countries.”

Mkhize assured South Africans that there will be no corruption in this procurement - unlike was the case with PPE - as it was done directly by the government with the manufacturer.

“This strengthens the credibility of all the processes as all the negotiations and payment issues are managed directly by government with the manufacturers. The concerns that we had with the PPE is that there were many vendors that we had to procure from, but this was direct between government and manufacturers,” said Mkhize.

Mkhize said the next step was for his department to engage all stakeholders to “ensure effective rollout of the vaccines for our health workers”.

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