Faced with the scale of the spread of covid-19 in South Africa, the country's authorities plan to launch a major vaccination campaign as early as next month. By the end of 2021, nearly 40 million South Africans are expected to have received the vaccine against the disease.
The information was given by the South African Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize, this Sunday, January 3, on the national strategy of vaccination against the covid-19.
According to the minister, the deployment of the vaccine in the country will be done in several stages, starting with the most vulnerable segments of the population. The first phase includes frontline health workers, with a target of 1,250,000 people.
The second phase will target essential workers, people in assembly places, people over 60, and people over 18 with co-morbidities. The goal is to reach 16,600,000 people. Finally, the third phase will target other people over 18, ie a population of 22,500,000 people.
“This means that by the end of phase 3, 40,350,000 citizens will have been vaccinated; which is equivalent to about 67.25% of the population, ”said Dr Zweli Mkhize. “At this stage, we have secured the doses that will be acquired via COVAX; which will allow us to vaccinate 10% of the population thanks to this mechanism ”, he declared.
Adding: “We have undertaken other efforts to have the rest of the 57% of the population targeted by the end of 2021, but most importantly, we are making efforts to obtain vaccines much sooner, hopefully as early as February 2021. “.
However, the minister insisted, “much will depend on the success of the ongoing bilateral negotiations with various companies.” Indeed, to finance this vaccination campaign, the South African government intends to appeal to the private sector as well as to the country’s main health insurers, through a Solidarity Fund aimed at providing “a platform for fundraising and for accelerated and controlled purchasing processes ”.
In addition, to optimize the availability of vaccine stocks for the country, the government is negotiating with all manufacturers, including Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca, as well as Russian and Chinese laboratories.
“We are in sensitive discussions and at this point we are bound by non-disclosure agreements, but we will make announcements as soon as the negotiations are concluded,” said the minister.
South Africa is the country most affected by the covid-19 pandemic on the African continent with more than one million cases recorded to date, and 30,000 deaths. Recently, a new variant of the virus has appeared there and is said to be 50% more contagious.
Source Ecofin Agency