The Health Department says it will fairly distribute the more than one-million first doses of the AstraZeneca vaccines, to health workers in the private and public sector.

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize told Parliament’s Portfolio on Health that half a million vaccines will arrive in the country in January and February.

The province’s Deputy Director-General Dr Anban Pillay says, “We would like to give all health workers the vaccine. So, we’ve been doing some estimates of the number of health workers across each province – both in the public and private health sector. As soon as the vaccine arrives, we will distribute it across all these provinces for the health workers in the front line in particular – those who are in the hospital setting must get the vaccine as the first delivery so that they can start the first dose of the vaccine. This is a two-dose vaccine, so they will have to get a second dose as well,” says Pillay.

Update on SA’s vaccine acquisition | Dr Zweli Mkhize

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.

Discussion on proposal for medical aid schemes to help procure COVID-19 vaccines for SA