Pfizer Pharma has said that it will supply 4.5 million COVID-19 vaccines to South Africa by June 2021.
South Africa’s Health Minister, Zweli Mkhize, said that they would get their first batch of the vaccines on Sunday night in a statement on Sunday. That batch would contain 325,260 doses, with a similar set to arrive weekly until the end of May, when the dosage will increase.
“The vaccine supply will then increase to an average of 636,480 weekly from May 31st. This will see us accumulate close to 4.5 million doses by the end of June,” Mkhize said in his statement.
— Reuters (@Reuters) May 2, 2021
South Africa is the hardest-hit country in Africa with COVID-19. The government has reported over 1.5 million cases.
It remains the only country in Africa so far to have crossed 1 million cases, having also conducted the most tests on the continent. Tests in South Africa have crossed 10.6 million.
So far, South Africa has now ordered 30 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine, which has proven the most effective against all SARS-CoV-2 variants.
The variant, B.1.351, discovered in South Africa, had already proven too strong for the AstraZeneca vaccine, forcing South Africa to halt its usage.
Johnson & Johnson
The news comes a month after the country also approved the use of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson. The South African government then ordered 31 million shots of the vaccine.
South Africa is currently in a calm period, with cases at an all-time low and deaths even lower, with the worst having occurred early in 2021. However, infections have been increasing gradually as South Africa nears its winter.
Hope for Africa
Furthermore, through their company Aspen Pharmacare, South Africa could boost vaccine production on the continent. Already, the company has produced an extra 1.1 million vaccine doses for the Johnson & Johnson company.
Aspen Pharmacare has the capacity to produce 200 million COVID vaccines yearly. Half of them will go to the Africa Union. This will be great for Africa, which so far is receiving trickles of vaccines.
South Africa's resumption of COVID-19 vaccinations coincided with an extra 1.1M doses produced locally by SA firm Aspen Pharmacare. It has capacity to produce more than 200M J&J doses of the vaccine a year, 50% of which will go to the African Union.https://t.co/Evoor9uEbM
— Charles Onyango-Obbo (@cobbo3) May 1, 2021