South Africa formulating vaccine strategy
Covering 10% of South Africa's roughly 58 million people through COVAX could cost around 2 billion rand.
13 November 2020 | Economics
South Africa should aim to cover 10% of its population through a global coronavirus vaccine scheme while also negotiating directly with manufacturers, a group of experts has advised the government.
South Africa has recorded the most novel coronavirus infections of any African nation. The race to secure enough vaccines to protect at-risk groups is heating up following Monday's announcement by Pfizer that its vaccine candidate is more than 90% effective based on initial trial results.
"There are two arms which we are recommending in terms of vaccine procurement. To make a commitment to COVAX but also to meet with various manufacturers to negotiate," Barry Schoub, chair of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on vaccines, told Reuters.
The advisory committee is helping the government formulate its vaccine strategy. Khadija Jamaloodien, director of affordable medicines at the health ministry, told Reuters the strategy would be based on scientific evidence.
South Africa is operating in a highly constrained fiscal environment, so it wants to avoid wasting precious public resources. Unlike many other African countries, South Africa does not qualify for subsidised vaccines via COVAX because it is classified as an upper middle-income country. -Nampa/Reuters