South Africa’s Minister of Health Zweli Mkhize revealed that the country will receive another 20-million vaccine doses from Pfizer. This brings the total number of vaccines on order to over 42-million.

Government have secured 1.5-million doses from AstraZeneca through the Serum Institute of India (SII), 9-million doses from Johnson & Johnson and 12-million from Covax. This puts the order from Pfizer as the largest so far.

Mkhize spoke to the Sunday Times and confirmed the news, saying: “These vaccines are secured and awaiting manufacturers to submit final agreements with details of delivery dates and exact amounts.”

The first doses will arrive in South Africa on Monday, February 1 at OR Tambo International Airport. From then, the first vaccine will roll out within 10 days and two weeks’ time.

Mkhize explained that more vaccine order announcements will be made once details are finalised. He continued by saying that government is negotiating with AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, and Pfizer, “but some of it is coming via the African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team and Covax,” said Mkhize.

“We are reasonably comfortable that what we have paid for, signed for and are negotiating for will cover the numbers that we are looking to vaccinate.”

In light of the concerns many have about storing the vaccine below -70 degrees the minister said: “We have some capacity, mostly at academic institutions. There are now companies coming forward with storage and transit solutions and we will advertise for bids for tenders on 5 February.”

South Africa plans on using a completely paperless system to manage and monitor the COVID-19 vaccination process. This system is called the Electronic Vaccination Data System (EVDS) and is expected to go live when the vaccine roll-out begins early in February.

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