The Health Department has denied reports that pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca cannot sell vaccines in South Africa.

According to recent information, AstraZeneca has confirmed that it will not be able to sell its vaccine in South Africa as it has no right to do so, contrary to government promises.

These rights are held by the Serum Institute of India, the largest manufacturer of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in the world.

There are concerns that government has not disclosed crucial details surrounding the timeline regarding discussions with vaccine manufacturers.

The department’s Deputy Director-General Dr Anban Pillay says government will share all information with the public.

Pillay says, “Well, our plan is to certainly share the information as it comes through after we get through the vaccine acquisition issues. We will then deal with matters related to the rollout of the vaccine, share that information publicly as we roll out, which area, which groups we are targeting. We would need public support to encourage people to participate in the vaccine programme about the safety of the vaccine because of the many myths about vaccines being ineffective. We would really like to be transparent because this would really help the programme.”

AstraZeneca vaccine

Last week, Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize announced that South Africa will be receiving the first batch of the AstraZeneca vaccine in January 2021 and another in February 2021.

In the video below, SABC Correspondent in New Delhi, India, Neha Poonia speaks about the vaccine:

EXPLAINER: South Africa’s vaccine rollout strategy: