South Africa will on Monday receive the first batch of one million Covid-19 vaccine doses from India, according to Health Minister Zweli Mkhize.
Mkhize said the country will receive the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, produced by the Serum Institute of India.
“We know the nation has been waiting for the arrival of the first batch of vaccine and I’m pleased to announce the flight carrying 1 million doses will leave India on Sunday via Durban and land at the OR Tambo airport,” Mkhize said at a public health webinar on COVID-19 vaccine in Johannesburg..
The AstraZeneca doses would undergo technical processes on arrival, including quality assurance.
“These processes will take a minimum of 10 days and a maximum of 14 days to complete, upon which we will be ready to distribute the vaccines to all provinces,” he said.
He said that the first batch of vaccine doses would be given to healthcare workers, adding that an additional 500,000 doses are expected in February and a further 20 million doses procured for June.
The vaccine has been approved by the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority for emergency use in the country.
South Africa’s National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (NEHAWU) welcomed the imminent arrival of the vaccine doses.
“NEHAWU will work with the health department and other stakeholders to ensure that the vaccination process runs smoothly and guarantee that healthcare workers across the country are vaccinated,” said NEHAWU General Secretary Zola Saphetha.
South Africa is the country worst-hit by the coronavirus pandemic in Africa. It is battling a highly infectious new mutation of the virus that has led to a surge in new infections.
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