South Africa receives 1 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine on Monday
London, Feb. 1, 2021 (AltAfrica)-The first shipment of 1 million doses of the Oxford University-AstraZeneca vaccine from the Serum Institute of India (SII) will arrive South Africa today, Feb, 1, 2021 as more countries in Africa join the global covid vaccination exercise
The country plans to start administering the vaccine a week after the vaccine arrives.
A second shipment of 500 000 doses from SII is expected to arrive later in February.
South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa and Deputy President David Mabuza, who chairs the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Vaccines, will receive South Africa’s first consignment of Covid-19 vaccine on Monday, the Presidency said.
South Africa has been the worst hit on the African continent and has reported the most cases so far.
The country has seen a big surge in infections in January driven by a new, more contagious variant of the virus called 501Y.V2.
The arrival of the first consignment at OR Tambo International Airport marks the start of the vaccine rollout which President Ramaphosa describes as the largest and most complex logistical vaccine undertaking in South Africa’s country’s history, says the Presidency.
South Africa has bought these vaccines from the Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer by volume. The firm is bulk producing the Oxford AstraZeneca shot in India.
Reports suggest that South Africa paid upwards of five dollars per dose, because the country has been categorised as an upper-middle income nation.
Apart from the commercial sale of the Oxford AstraZeneca shot to South Africa, India plans to supply 10 million vaccine doses to the African continent under the WHO-backed COVAX vaccine sharing facility.
South Africa is eventually expected to get around 12 million doses under that program. The first shots of the vaccine will be given to the country’s frontline workers.
The country plans to vaccinate roughly two-thirds of its population – a move expected to cost $1.4 billion.
Experts say that as a vaccine powerhouse, India makes 60% of the world’s vaccines and it has a responsibility to help nations who are struggling to inoculate their citizens.
Strategic Affairs Expert, Harsh Pant says, “Certainly, India is hoping that those who can afford will enter into commercial agreements, wherever India will give aid. But that is only possible if everyone plays ball. So,