Health minister Zweli Mkhize said on Sunday the expedition and delivery of the Covid-19 vaccine is among government’s top priorities.
The minister was joined by a panel of experts during a press briefing in which he outlined the Covid-19 vaccine rollout plan as SA battles the second wave of infections.
The minister said SA will roll out the vaccine in three phases to health workers, essential workers and people with comorbidities. SA is aiming to vaccinate 67% of the population by the end of the year, with vaccines for 10% of the population having been secured through the Covax programme.
Here are five quotes from the minister’s briefing:
Citizens need to be vaccinated by the end of the first rollout
“The only way to deal with Covid-19 is the provision of immunity through vaccination. We have been trying to follow what the best way is to deal with this. The vaccines will need to be available quickly so our citizens are covered by the end of the first year rollout – this year.”
“Additionally, we have embarked on public-private partnerships with very good outcomes, and we have approached medical aids to be part of the co-financing. The process is now at a stage where the Council for Medical Schemes has engaged schemes and I have signed amendments of regulations to allow for vaccines and other therapeutics to be part of the prescribed minimum benefits.”
Vaccine expedition is government’s top priority
“We have set up structures to expedite the financing, the sourcing and the procurement and therefore the issues of the vaccine strategy will get undivided attention from the whole of government. We want to ensure the public we are very mindful of the urgency, particularly as we feel the impact of the second wave we are currently experiencing.”
First doses for 10% vaccinations have been secured
“At this stage, we have secured the doses that will be acquired through Covax, which will ensure we immunise 10% of the population through this mechanism. In line with the president’s statement, we expect the processes will have delivered the vaccine by the beginning of the second quarter. The funds to pay the outstanding amount after the deposit that paid by the Solidarity Fund, around R1,8bn, have been allocated.
Ongoing discussions with vaccine manufactures
“To optimise the availability of stock for ourselves we are negotiating with all the manufacturers and pursuing those who are indicating appetite to make vaccines available sooner. We are in sensitive discussions and at this stage are bound by non-disclosure agreements (NDAs). We will make announcements as soon as negotiations are concluded and the NDAs have been lifted.”
TimesLIVE (TMG Digital)