Vaccinating tens of millions of people will be exceedingly difficult

“If we want life to go back to the way it was in February 2020, we will have to vaccinate tens of millions of South Africans next year to squash the epidemic.” (GroundUp, 27 November 2020)

“We now have effective Covid vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, and Oxford/AstraZeneca. None have yet been approved by medical authorities and the study results have not yet been published in peer-reviewed journals, but this is imminent.”

Pfizer says 50-m doses will be available by the end of 2020, and 1.3-bn doses will be produced by the end of 2021.

AstraZeneca claims that it will be able to produce 3-bn doses (of the Oxford vaccine) by the end of 2021.

Moderna says it can produce 20-m doses in 2020, and between 500-m and 1-bn doses in 2021.

According to the Financial Times, the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is the cheapest at $3-$4 (R45-R61) a dose; one dose of Moderna’s vaccine is reported to be $37 (R565), while one dose of Pfizer’s is $20 (R305).

 

*On 24 November Finance Minister Tito Mboweni announced the allocation of R500-m to “participate in the process of the production of the vaccine”, and that the state is prepared to spend R5-bn to access vaccines. In South Africa, the three to four hundred thousand health workers should arguably be first in line.

 

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