President Cyril Ramaphosa has confirmed that the country will receive its first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines from India very soon.
New Delhi has allowed the commercial export of vaccines and a shipment is expected to arrive any day now.
India makes 60% of the world’s vaccines and is home to several major manufacturers.
Sources in the Indian government have told the SABC that the next commercial shipment of the vaccine will fly out to South Africa soon.
President Cyril Ramaphosa’s government signed a purchase agreement with Serum Institute which is the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer. It has been bulk producing the Oxford AstraZeneca shot in India.
Per the agreement, 1 million doses will reach South Africa this week and 500,000 doses will be flown out next month.
Ahead of the first delivery South Africa’s health officials granted regulatory approval to the Serum Institute to supply the jab.
But that was only half the battle, Serum Institute also needed permission from the Indian government to begin commercial exports, which it was granted over the weekend.
Brazil and Morocco were the first to receive shipments.
South Africa will be paying for the vaccine, unlike many shipments to India’s neighbouring countries which will be covered by grants.
The exact cost for each dose has not been confirmed, but some reports suggest the country will be paying just over 5 dollars per dose. The high price, reports suggest, is because South Africa has been categorised as an upper-middle-income country.
India itself has purchased 11 million doses of the Oxford jab from the Serum Institute for less than 3 dollars a shot.
The government has said that while prioritising domestic requirements, New Delhi will ensure regular vaccine supplies to partner nations like South Africa in the coming months.
South Africa is battling a second wave of infections as well as a new, more infectious variant of the virus.
EXPLAINER: South Africa’s vaccine rollout strategy: