South Africa Secures Additional 20m COVID-19 Vaccines
By Adedapo Adesanya
**As Egypt Gets First AstraZeneca-Oxford Vaccine
South Africa has secured an additional 20 million coronavirus vaccines manufactured by Pfizer.
Business Post confirmed this from a South African newspaper, The Sunday Times on Sunday, which got its information from an interview with the country’s health minister.
“These vaccines are secured and awaiting manufacturers to submit final agreements with details of delivery dates and exact amounts”, Mr Zweli Mkhize was quoted as saying in the interview.
The extra doses would potentially push the total supply secured by the continent’s worst-hit country above 40 million. South Africa has recorded more than 1.4 million cases of COVID-19 with close to 44,000 deaths.
However, there were no further details and the ministry did not immediately respond to questions.
South Africa has so far secured around 12 million doses from the COVAX vaccine distribution scheme co-led by the World Health Organization, 12 million from an African Union arrangement, and 9 million from Johnson & Johnson.
Its first batch of one million coronavirus vaccine doses is due to arrive on February 1, destined for healthcare workers. They are the AstraZeneca shots, produced by the Serum Institute of India (SII).
A further 500,000 doses are expected from the SII in February, also for health workers.
Africa’s most advanced economy has been one of the slowest among major emerging market nations to secure enough vaccines for the majority of its population and is due to begin administering first shots next month.
In another vaccine-related news, Egypt announced the arrival of the first batch of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine on Sunday, January 31, 2021, without specifying the number of doses.
Last week, officials said they had ordered 20 million doses, according to Egyptian media.
Egypt, the Arab world’s most populous country with around 100 million people, has recorded nearly 165,000 COVID-19 cases, including more than 9,200 deaths.
The country started vaccinating healthcare workers using China’s Sinopharm jabs on January 24, the first doses of which were delivered in December.
On Friday, the Health Minister, Mrs Hala Zayed said that 1,315 medical workers had received the first dose and noted that jabs will be rolled to the elderly and people with chronic health conditions.