South Africa has signed a deal for the procurement of 20 million doses of Pfizer vaccines.
According to the announcement made by Health Minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize, payment processes are also underway to close the deal in the next few days.
In addition, with the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) agreement also fully concluded, Mkhize believes that this sets the stage for a significant and rapid expansion of the country’s COVID-19 vaccination programme.
“We can also confirm that the final tranche of 200 000 Johnson & 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,” the Minister said on Monday.
According to the latest information, the number of healthcare workers vaccinated now stand at 272 438 as of 6 April 2021.
Likewise, he said the country will also embark on an implementation study with a limited number of Pfizer doses used amongst healthcare workers, which he describes as 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.”
In addition, stakeholders have continued to be engaged across all sectors to “sensitise” government 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 the 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,” said the Minister.
Upon completion of the ratification process, the department 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 announcing the details in the days to come,” he added.