South Africa’s Western Cape Requires Billions of Rands for COVID-19 Vaccine

Western Cape, a South African province, will need billions of rands to pocure the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine for its population, said Premier Alan Winde.

However, Winde warns that the province cannot afford the money needed to vaccinate Western Cape’s five million population.

He added that he and his procurement team will meet this week to hash out a plan and source money from provincial treasury that will bolster the national Department of Health’s allocated doses for the province.

The Western Cape is expected to receive over 93 000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines this. Winde could not confirm the budget for provincial procurement of vaccines but said he hopes to have that target by Wednesday.

Of the expected 93,000 doses, 35,000 would be used to vaccinate healthcare workers in the private sector.

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He said: “Hopefully, I will be able to have that target by Wednesday when our team reports back because we know at the moment that 38 million doses are too few for the country … so what does that mean for us as a province?”

Winde said he was not willing to engage in a debate over the implications of the vaccine costs.

“Lets put it into perspective, it depends on what you want to weigh-up a lot of money against. The price of vaccines versus how many people are going to die in the third wave. It’s not even worth having that discussion. We have to try and mitigate as much risk as possible, we spent billions on PPE and now suddenly people are worrying about spending money on vaccines. Come on – we mustn’t have that discussion.”

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He added, “Vaccine pricing is less than testing. Of course, vaccines are many more than testing – so you need to vaccinate in our province nearly 5 million people, but for me at the end of the day the price of the vaccine and the price of the roll-out of the vaccine versus saving of lives, it becomes a no-brainer it’s what we’ve got to do.”

Winde also confirmed that he will be meeting officials from the SA Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) this week to get a timeline as to when they might approve other vaccines besides the Oxford-AstraZeneca one which the body has given the green light to for use.

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He admitted it would be pointless for the Western Cape government to buy a vaccine that has not yet been approved for use in South Africa.

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