Covid-19: Sale of AstraZeneca vaccine to AU concluded - Health Minister Zweli Mkhize

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Health Minister Zweli Mkhize.
Health Minister Zweli Mkhize.
Darren Stewart/Gallo Images
  • Health Minister Zweli Mkhize says the full purchase amount for the AstraZeneca vaccines was received Monday last week.
  • About a million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine were sold to the African Union by South Africa. 
  • Mkhize says the first batch of vaccines that is being delivered will benefit nine member states.

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize says the sale of the one million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to the African Union (AU) has been concluded. 

In a statement on Sunday, Mkhize said the department had in the past weeks ensured that all member states identified by the AU vaccine acquisition team as recipients were compliant and had obtained regulatory approvals, permits and licenses to roll out the jabs in their countries. 

Mkhize said the full purchase amount was received by the department last Monday.

"The AU and South African teams then ensured that all logistical arrangements are in place for the shipment of the vaccines. The minister is pleased to announce that the first batch of vaccines that is being delivered will benefit nine member states. The balance will be collected this week to be delivered to five other countries," the department said. 

News24 previously reported that Mkhize said the sale of the vaccines would come cheap. 

Addressing the National Press Club earlier this month, Mkhize said local scientists were still working on research regarding the efficacy of the vaccine. 

He said the AU would buy the over a million vaccines at the same amount that was spent procuring them from the Serum Institute of India. 

ALSO READ | Covid-19 crisis: Stuttering SA left behind as Rwanda powers ahead in vaccination drive

The use of the doses was halted in South Africa after it was found to be not highly effective against the 501Y.V2 variant. 

In February, the department started rolling out the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to healthcare workers. 

News24 also reported that principal investigator of the AstraZeneca vaccine trials in South Africa, Professor Shabir Madhi, said he was "mortified" that government had "abandoned" the doses. 

The professor said there was still strategic use for the vaccines among high risk groups. 

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