Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has announced that the country will be receiving the first batch of vaccine this month and another next month.
He says that priority will be given to the country’s more than one million health workers in both the private and public sectors.
Mkhize was briefing Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Health on the roll out strategy of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“Today, I am pleased to announce that the institute of India has given us permission to make a public announcement in preparation for the roll out to 1.25 million health workers to both private and public health workers. South Africa will receive the first 1 000 000 doses of vaccine in January and another 500 000 in February our teams are fine tuning all the regulation processes.”
Mkhize has also reiterated that they are approaching medical aid schemes and the business sector for assistance to obtain funding for the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination programme. 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.
Mkhize briefs the Portfolio Committee on status of healthcare services:
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: