South Africa will receive one million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine in January 2021 and a further 500,000 doses in February. This comes after the state was criticised for its slow pace in procuring vaccines amid the second wave of infections.
A deal struck with the Serum Institute of India (SII) will see South Africa get a million Covid-19 vaccine doses before the end of January, Minister of Health Zweli Mkhize announced on Thursday. A further 500,000 doses are due in February.
An estimated 1.25 million public and private frontline healthcare workers will be first in line to receive the vaccine, said Mkhize.
"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 rollout," read his prepared statement.
The announcement comes after the state was lambasted for failing to secure vaccine deals with manufacturers beyond relying on the Covax initiative that is intended to ensure poor countries get access to vaccines.
Dozens of countries, both rich and poor, have already begun mass vaccination programmes, including the US,...