'More info needed on how SA govt will fund first tranche of AstraZeneca vaccine'


18 days ago

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize announced on Thursday that South Africa would be receiving one million doses in January and 500,000 doses in February.

Mkhize made the announcement during a briefing in Parliament on the proposed vaccine rollout plans.

Government estimates that 1.25 million health care workers in both public and private facilities will be first in line to receive the vaccine.

RELATED: South Africa gets 1.5m AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine doses from India

While the AstraZeneca vaccine has already been approved by various regulators in other countries, it has yet to be approved by the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra).

Mkhize told Parliament, "We are happy that the SII/ Astra Zeneca vaccine has already been approved by various regulators and is being rolled out in other countries. Therefore, as part of expediting the regulatory process, Sahpra is applying reliance on that regulatory work".

Meanwhile, the Health Justice Initiative (HJI) has warned the South African government against taking any shortcuts during the regulatory processes.

The HJI also wants government to provide more details on how the vaccine will be financed.

HJI head Fatima Hassan says Finance Minister Tito Mboweni needs to present the details of the government's vaccine funding model.

It's some good news after many many months of trying to get information from the government and trying to convince drug companies and government to actually make the licensing available so that we can get urgent supplies of vaccines to protect our frontline and the rest of our population.

Fatima Hassan, Head - Health Justice Initiative

There are still a few unanswered questions, even from the minister's presentation to Parliament this morning, it's a bit unclear what the financing/funding model is going to look like.

Fatima Hassan, Head - Health Justice Initiative

From the presentation that was given on Sunday, I think there isn't sufficient detail. I really think the Minister of Finance has to actually take the nation into his confidence now so that we can understand how all of this is going to work.

Fatima Hassan, Head - Health Justice Initiative

The second issue is that AstraZeneca vaccine is not yet registered by Sahpra. [Mkhize] has indicated that there will be expedited approval. We certainly don't want any backdoor approval.

Fatima Hassan, Head - Health Justice Initiative

We are really hoping that Sahpra will be quite robust with the approval process.

Fatima Hassan, Head - Health Justice Initiative

Listen to the discussion on Afternoon Drive with John Maytham:

This article first appeared on CapeTalk : 'More info needed on how SA govt will fund first tranche of AstraZeneca vaccine'

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