China’s Sinovac to boost S/Africa’s vaccination exercise – Minister

Chinese-made Sinovac vaccine's approval is expected to speed up the South African government's vaccination programme in the fight against the…

Chinese-made Sinovac vaccine’s approval is expected to speed up the South African government’s vaccination programme in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic in the country, newly-appointed Health Minister Joseph Phaahla said on Saturday.According to the minister, the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority and his ministry approved the use of the vaccine last month, and the country is expected to start using it on 1 September for those aged 18 and older. 

Phaahla said the country plans to have procured over 40 million doses by the end of the year for this purpose.

He said his ministry was also intending to start using the double-dose AstraZeneca vaccine soon to fight the pandemic.  

The India-made AstraZeneca vaccine was the first in line but South Africa dropped it a week before it was to start, saying it was not good enough for the purpose.

“In our last National Coronavirus Council meeting, our Ministerial Advisory Committee made a presentation,” Phaahla said. 

He added: “And following that presentation, it was approved that within our arsenal, we must also include the Sinovac vaccine. And that the AstraZeneca vaccine, which has shown to be effective against the Delta variant, should be brought back into use.”

The ministry planned to reach a target of vaccinating over a million people every three days, Phaahla said.

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