Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize says they have approached medical aid schemes and the business sector for assistance to obtain funding for the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination programme.

South Africa is yet to secure a vaccine as the country is experiencing a second wave of the coronavirus.

Mkhize says around 70% of the population will need to be vaccinated in order to break the cycle of transmission.

He says, “We have had lots of discussions with the minister of finance to say that the fiscus is going to carry the major burden of having to procure the vaccines. In the process, we have also agreed that we will look at and activate other means of raising additional funds which will be to approach the medical schemes and ask them to make a contribution and cross-subsidize some members of the public. The third is to get donors and businesses to make their own contributions.

Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize briefs the Portfolio Committee on status of health care services

Mkhize has acknowledged that herd immunity via a vaccine is the only way to beat the virus. The Minister says the vaccine rollout is urgent.

“We want to assure the public that we are very mindful of the urgency, particularly as we feel the impact of the second wave that we are currently experiencing now. So everywhere you go, everyone can feel the pressure, I think all of us have a sense of personal anxiety where we now wish to know at which we can say we are safe from this kind of pandemic.”

South Africa is exploring the following COVID-19 vaccines: