In South Africa, the first doses of the Covid 19 vaccine may come sooner than expected. The Minister of Health was under fire for his lack of action and communication about his vaccine strategy, while the second wave continues to grow Until now,
the ministry explained that it was negotiating with laboratories to buy doses outside the Covax platform without being able to provide more details . But on Thursday, the health minister confirmed that the first doses of the vaccine should arrive this month.
South Africa is expected to receive one million doses of the vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca by the end of the month, followed by 500,000 additional doses in February.
These doses will be manufactured by the Serum Institute in India, which has a manufacturing agreement with the pharmaceutical company. And they will be injected in priority to the nursing staff.
The health minister is urging the rest of the population to be “patient” while negotiations continue and the first doses delivered by the Covax unit are not expected in 6 months. South Africa intends to vaccinate 67% of the population by the end of the year.
It’s also left to see if the virus variant, discovered in the country last month, could weaken the effects of vaccines. Tests are currently being carried out in the country, while clinical trials concerning, among other things, AstraZenecase are being carried out on site. The answer is expected by researchers within the next few weeks.
The local company Aspen is also in discussions with the Johnson & Johnson laboratory to partially produce doses on site once the vaccine is approved.
South Africa now has more than 1.1 million registered cases and nearly 32,000 deaths.