The government’s advisers on coronavirus vaccines have recommended that it sign up to the international financing vehicle Covax under a “committed purchase agreement ” that could result in SA initially receiving only enough shots to immunise frontline healthcare workers and people in care facilities. SA missed the October deadline for committing to Covax and is still trying to negotiate an agreement.

 

The international race to acquire COVID-19 vaccines gained fresh momentum after Pfizer and its development partner BioNtech and then Moderna announced interim results showing their shots were more than 90% effective. Meanwhile SA missed the October deadline for committing to Covax (the international financing vehicle) and is still trying to negotiate an agreement.

 

Under the committed purchase agreement, countries commit to buying a specific number of shots of whichever future vaccine is allocated by Covax, at a yet to be determined price. They must pay up front and may only pull out if the price breaches $21.10 a dose. The initial volume available via Covax could be as low as 3% of the population as the facility would equitably distribute the first shots it procured to ensure frontline healthcare workers of participating countries were covered. It is unlikely that the government could afford to vaccinate everyone.

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