SA’s first batch of COVID-19 immunisations expected in second quarter of 2021

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The cost of a complete COVID-19 vaccine regimen for South Africa is estimated at above R2.1 billion, with the first batch of immunisations expected only in the second quarter of next year.

That was revealed in a statement issued by South Africa’s Department of Health that affirmed the country’s participation in the global COVX facility. A down payment of R327 million is needed and it will be made by December 15. It will be taken from the country’s solidarity fund.

The statement indicated that South Africa’s participation in the COVAX facility, which has buy-in from 187 countries, would allow rapid access to immunisations in order to vaccinate at least 10% of the country’s population in the initial stages.

The Health Department has indicated that a determination would have to be made to prioritise those who should receive vaccinations first, for example those at high risk of exposure, frontline health workers and the medically vulnerable.

WHO briefs media on COVID-19 vaccine:

Beyond the cost of the vaccines, the country also has to ensure that resources are set aside for actual distribution, storage and administration of the vaccine programme nationwide.

Any future vaccines would have to first receive clearance from the SA Health Products Regulatory Authority and that process is yet to begin as none of the vaccine manufacturers have submitted applications for approval as yet.

Earlier, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni disputed claims by the DA that government has missed the deadline to pay R500 million to the WHO COVAX global COVID19 vaccination distribution scheme.

Minister Mboweni says Solidarity Fund is ready to pay for COVID-19 vaccine: