Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has announced that South Africa will receive one million doses of a Covid-19 vaccine from the Serum Institute of India this month.
Mkhize made the announcement in his closing remarks during a briefing to Parliament’s Health Portfolio Committee on Thursday.
“We will be receiving the first one million doses of vaccine in January and another 500 000 in February from the Serum Institute of India. As recently as [Wednesday], our teams at the Department of Health and the South African Healthcare Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra) were finetuning and aligning all the regulations, processes to ensure that there are no unnecessary delays or regulatory impediments to activate this rollout. We are all happy that the Serum Institute of India and AstraZenca vaccine has already been approved by various regulators and is being rolled out. Sahpra is applying reliance on that regulatory framework,” he said.
At a press briefing on Sunday, Mkhize gave an undertaking that the government would prioritise healthcare workers by ensuring that they receive the vaccine by February 2021.
“At the time, I could not disclose further details. Today I am pleased to announce that the Serum Institute of India has given us permission to make public an announcement and start engaging with the relevant stakeholders in preparation for the rollout. We also stated that as a country, we estimated 1.25 million of health workers, both in public and private sectors, will need to be prioritised,” he said.