Covid-19: SA signs deal for 20 million Pfizer vaccine doses

0:00
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
SA has bought more vaccines.
SA has bought more vaccines.
Getty Images
  • SA has signed an agreement to buy 20 million doses of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine.
  • The batch is expected to arrive later in April.
  • The SA government has already added 31 million doses of the J&J vaccine.

South Africa has signed an agreement to buy 20 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech dual-shot Covid-19 vaccine, a senior government official said on Tuesday, boosting plans to ramp up vaccinations from this month.

The deal is a boost for the country worst hit by Covid-19 infections in Africa, as it adds to 31 million doses of Johnson & Johnson's single-shot vaccine that the government had already secured.

The first batch from Pfizer is expected to arrive later in April, Anban Pillay, deputy director-general at the Health Department, told Reuters.

He said he was not allowed to disclose the price, but another person involved in vaccine negotiations said it was roughly R145 a dose.

Pfizer did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

READ | SA's first Covid-19 lung transplant patient finally leaves hospital - with her baby

With the J&J and Pfizer deals, the government will have enough vaccines for 41 million people, out of its population of around 60 million.

It has also made a downpayment for up to 12 million doses from the Covax Facility, the global vaccine distribution scheme co-led by the World Health Organisation and partners including the Gavi vaccines alliance. Officials say the country will also participate in an African Union vaccine plan.

It is not clear whether the doses from Covax and the AU would be of a single-shot vaccine, a dual-shot one or a mix of both.

Health experts have urged the government to scale up vaccinations in light of predictions that Africa's most industrialised country would be hit by a "third wave" of infections in winter.

South Africa's vaccination campaign was dealt a blow in early February when it put on hold a plan to start inoculations with AstraZeneca's vaccine, after a small trial showed it offered minimal protection against mild to moderate Covid-19 caused by the dominant local coronavirus variant.

The government then switched to the J&J vaccine in an "implementation study" to start protecting frontline healthcare workers with limited doses. As of 4 April, almost 270 000 health workers had received the J&J vaccine.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
As a child or as an adult, have you ever been a victim of bullying?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Yes, at school
55% - 4169 votes
Yes, at work
18% - 1353 votes
No, I've never experienced this
27% - 2087 votes
Vote
USD/ZAR
14.29
(+0.3)
GBP/ZAR
19.80
(-0.3)
EUR/ZAR
17.16
(+0.1)
AUD/ZAR
11.04
(-0.0)
JPY/ZAR
0.13
(+0.2)
Gold
1,781.09
(-0.7)
Silver
26.16
(-1.5)
Platinum
1,213.50
(-0.3)
Brent Crude
65.32
(-1.9)
Palladium
2,836.50
(-1.5)
All Share
66,972
(-0.3)
Top 40
61,183
(-0.4)
Financial 15
12,096
(-0.2)
Industrial 25
86,814
(+0.1)
Resource 10
68,622
(-0.9)
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo