Minister of Health, Dr. Zweli Mkhize, has announced that South Africa will be receiving 1 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine from the Serum Institute of India (SII) in January, a further 500 thousand doses in February.
He gave parliamentarians more details on the proposed rollout plans for a COVID-19 vaccine.
“SII has given us permission to make a public announcement and start engaging with all relevant stakeholders in preparation for the roll out.
“As recently as yesterday, our teams from the National Department of Health and the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) were fine tuning and aligning all the regulations processes to ensure that there are no unnecessary delays or regulatory impediments to activate this roll out.
“We are happy that the SII/ Astra Zeneca vaccine has already been approved by various regulators and is being rolled out in other countries. Therefore, as part of expediting the regulatory process, SAHPRA is applying reliance on that regulatory work.”
Mkhize estimates that 1.25 health workers both in Public and Private sector will be prioritised, with those who have close contact with patients getting the first doses.
“We will now be engaging all relevant stakeholders in order to ensure the efficient and effective roll out of the vaccine for our health workers.
“We urge the public to be patient with us as we continue to engage manufacturers. Our commitment remains to save and protect the lives of our people. We will not neglect our responsibility to protect lives and also fight this pandemic. We therefore call on all South Africans, members of the public, political parties, business, labour, NGOs and community leaders and members to work with us as we start this historic process.”