A departmental presentation indicates that the government has secured around 51 million vaccine doses from international manufacturers – 20 million from Pfizer and 30 million from Johnson & Johnson.
However, health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize announced that South Africa has secured a further 10 million Covid-19 Pfizer vaccines, taking the total number of the two-dose vaccine to 30 million.
“We can now guarantee that the number of people that will be vaccinated with Pfizer has increased from 10 to 15 million,” he said.
With the 30 million single-dose shots from J&J, around 45 million South Africans will be covered by the current planned rollout.
Mkhize said that both the Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson (J&J) agreements cost around $10 (R145) per vaccine, and have non-refundable clauses.
“The agreements state that down-payments that have been made in advance by the department shall not be refundable by the manufacturer to us in any circumstances. This is another onerous term that we had to settle for,” the minister told the committee.
Meanwhile, he said government has received an email from J&J, stating that they will not sign off the 20 million doses until they receive a letter from the Trade, Industry and Competition Minister, expressing support for the local investment that they made in Aspen Pharmacare.
“We’ve been taken aback by this, as there are clauses in the agreement that express this support and acknowledge that this production will not just be limited to South Africa and the continent, but also targeted for the global market,” said Mkhize.
Who gets what?
The department indicated that the Pfizer vaccine will likely be allocated to the country’s major metropolitans due to its larger pack size and refrigeration requirements.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine will predominantly be used in rural districts, it said.
Phase 2 of the country’s vaccine rollout, scheduled to begin in May, with essential workers over 40 and the elderly to be targeted in the programme which will run until October.
This will include a focus on old age homes, and care facilities as well as identifying those with co-morbidities.
The department also provided an overview of occupations which it considered essential workers in the public and community sectors.
While the list is not exclusive, the department said that this will include:
- Traffic Officers;
- Correctional Officers;
- Teachers, ECD;
- Social workers;
- Municipal workers;
- Community based workers;
- Home Affairs;
- SASSA officials;
- Faith Leaders;
- Traditional leaders;
- Traditional Healers.
It added that the number of private sectors could be covered by the rollout including mining, retail, transport, and manufacturing.