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The National Treasury has allocated R9 billion to fund the country’s COVID-19 vaccine roll-out strategy.

This comes as government prioritises the vaccination campaign to the public, free of charge, with the aim of saving many lives and supporting a full reopening of the economy.

Tabling the Budget Review on Wednesday, the National Treasury said ensuring access to COVID-19 vaccines is government’s immediate priority.

“Over the medium term, R9 billion is allocated for vaccine rollout.

“Of this amount, the Department of Health is allocated R6.5 billion to procure and distribute vaccines. An amount of R100 million will be transferred to the South African Medical Research Council for vaccine research. Provincial health departments are allocated R2.4 billion to administer vaccines.”

As announced by the Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize, in January 2021, South Africa’s three-phase vaccine rollout strategy aims to vaccinate 67% of the population over a 12-month period.

“Access to vaccinations will be provided free of charge, in line with need and the rollout schedule. Funding for vaccine procurement and rollout is drawn from the national budget.

“Since the state is procuring vaccines on behalf of both the public and private sectors, some revenue will return to the fiscus when private providers buy vaccines from the state.”

Treasury also said that the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) has been allocated R50 million for an associated communications campaign.

“National department allocations are ring-fenced. Additional allocations are made through the COVID-19 component of the HIV, tuberculosis, malaria and community outreach grant introduced in the June 2020 special adjustments budget.

“Government allocated R1.3 billion in the current year for vaccine purchases. Given uncertainty around final costs, an estimated R9 billion could be drawn on from the contingency reserve and emergency allocations, bringing total potential funding for the vaccination programme to about R19.3 billion,” said Treasury.

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