The South African government has paid US$19.2 million as down payment to secure the coronavirus vaccine under the World Health Organisation’s COVAX facility, APA learnt on Wednesday.According to a Ministry of Health and the Solidarity Fund statement issued in Pretoria, the secured vaccines would only cover 10 percent of the country’s population.
COVAX has confirmed South Africa’s entry into the facility, it added.
The US$19.2 million represented 15 percent of the total cost of securing access to vaccines for some six million people, the ministry said.
The ministry said the country’s membership in the COVAX facility ensured that South Africa receives its equitable share of the vaccine once it becomes available for distribution.
Minister of Health Zweli Mkhize hailed “this milestone as the epitome of excellence in health service delivery through multilaterism.”
“This is what we have been advocating for when we speak of multi-sectoral collaboration. It is gratifying to see this spirit being harnessed for the good of our people, Africans and the global village,” Mkhize said.
Solidarity Fund chairperson Gloria Serobe said there was no doubt that Covid-19 vaccines would play an important role in helping South Africans manage the virus.
“The Solidarity Fund was set up exactly for this purpose – to be additive to the work of government and assist in initiatives and programmes that have the greatest impact in the fight against the pandemic,” Serobe said.