POLITICS

Agreement signed with Pfizer for 20m doses - Zweli Mkhize

Minister says Johnson and Johnson agreement also fully concluded

Preparations for Mass Vaccination

We are pleased to confirm that the Pfizer Agreement for 20 million doses of vaccines has been signed and that payment processes are underway to close the deal in the next few days. With the Johnson and Johnson Agreement also fully concluded, this sets the stage for a significant and rapid expansion of our vaccination programme.

In addition we can also confirm that the final tranche of 200 000 Johnson and Johnson doses for the Sisonke Protocol is expected to arrive on 10 April 2021. These doses will take us to the last mile of the Sisonke Protocol, which is set to become one of the most seminal studies in the history of the pandemic.

Similarly, we will also embark on an implementation study with a limited number of Pfizer doses used amongst health care workers- this will be yet another valuable contribution to the science of mass vaccination.

In preparation for the mass vaccination campaign, we have undertaken a deep study of the Sisonke Protocol to draw lessons from the programme and enhance the efficiency of future operations.

We have also continued to engage stakeholders across all sectors to sensitise ourselves to the needs of various communities.

Upon deeper inspection and reflection, the Department of Health has worked on a revised strategy to ensure that the vaccination campaign targets the most pressing public health and economic relief that vaccination should achieve. These revisions will require extensive yet urgent consultation to ensure that the final programme expresses the will of the people.

Upon completion of the ratification process, we will announce the details of the revised vaccination programme to the public and call on the first group of eligible citizens to register on the Electronic Vaccination System.

I wish to thank all government officials, business partners and social partners who are working around the clock to ensure that the programme is efficient, safe and exemplary. We look forward to announc¬ing the details in the days to come.

Issued by Minister of Health, Dr Zwelini Mkhize, 6 April 2021

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STATEMENT ON THE SALE OF ASTRA ZENECA TO THE AFRICAN UNION

On 7 November 2020 His Excellency President Cyril Ramaphosa, in his capacity as chair of the African Union, established the COVID-19 African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT)- a component in support of the Africa Vaccine Strategy that was endorsed by the AU Bureau of Heads of State and Government on 20th of August, 2020. This strategic initiative has seen Africa secure one billion doses of vaccines to date. This task team has been instrumental in ensuring that Africa does not get left behind as the world comes under pressure to attain population immunity against COVID-19.

Through the co-ordinated efforts of this task team we are pleased to confirm that, after concluding the sale of one million Astra Zeneca doses to the African Union, the first batch of these doses have been dispatched from South Africa. Although it was a difficult decision for us to halt the rollout of Astra Zeneca, due to the challenges posed by the 501Y.V2 variant, it is gratifying to know that eighteen (18) member states will benefit from the AU allocation of the Astra Zeneca acquisition from South Africa. These member states are:

Nigeria

Ghana

Senegal

Guinea

Togo

Sierra Leone

Zimbabwe

Liberia

Mauritania

Gambia

Guinea-Bissau

Malawi

South Sudan

Comoros

Egypt

Seychelles

Uganda

Zimbabwe

We applaud the AU for undertaking the task of redistributing the vaccines to the re-ceiving member states.

As government, we are pleased to see a successful conclusion of this matter. The disposal of the vaccines has ensured a win-win solution for all. Through the sale, South Africa will not incur fruitless and wasteful expenditure.

We also welcome the contributions made by MTN-Africa, which assisted in the pur-chase of the stock. This is a shining example of successful private, public partner-

ship and we call on others in the business sector to join us in the final battle against COVID-19 and make similar contributions to boost Africa’s mass vaccination cam-paign.

Through this initiative, governments and business have come together to turn one country’s misfortunes into blessings for others. This reflects the spirit of social soli-darity that the AU Vaccine Strategy was founded upon. We wish the member states well as they rollout their respective vaccination campaigns. We are in this together.

Issued by Minister of Health, Dr Zwelini Mkhize, 2 April 2021