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1 M COVID Vaccine Doses to Arrive From India on Feb 1: South African Health Minister

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South African Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said on Wednesday a million coronavirus vaccine doses will arrive from India in the country on February 1.

After the arrival of the vaccine doses via Dubai, these will undergo some processes for 10 to 14 days, after which these will be distributed among provinces, he said during a virtual press conference.

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Mkhize had earlier announced that South Africa would receive the first batch of a million vaccine doses form India by the January-end and a further 500,000 doses in February.

The vaccine will be first administered to health care workers and other priority sector staff in the first phase of the campaign, which aims to vaccinate 67 per cent of South Africa’s 58.5 million citizens to achieve herd immunity before the end of 2021.

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Receiving one million vaccines less than a year after first the COVID-19 infection was recorded is a massive achievement, the minister said as he commended the volunteers who participated in the vaccine trials.

Officials said all health workers will receive the vaccine free of cost.

Those who are insured will pay the cost through their medical aid schemes while the government will absorb the cost of vaccination for the uninsured workers, believed to be about 350,000.

Businesses or corporates who may want to vaccinate their employees may also do so at their workplaces and bear the costs involved.

Pharmacies with a guaranteed cold chain facility will be allowed to purchase the stock of the vaccine.

They may either claim the cost of vaccine doses administered from medical aid schemes or the government for uninsured members. An electronic vaccine data system will be implemented as a control measure.

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