Business for SA (B4SA) warned that the country faces a shortage of coronavirus vaccines between April and June.

“While the government has consistently said it has secured enough Covid-19 shots to vaccinate two-thirds of the population, or 40-m people in the next 12 months, it has yet to provide a clear line of sight on the date of arrival of these vaccines in SA,” reported Business Day (2 March 2021).

The only Covid-19 vaccines destined for SA for which details are in the public domain are the 500 000 Johnson & Johnson (J&J) doses that have been earmarked for an implementation study restricted to healthcare workers. Although a deal has been signed with J&J for 11-m doses, no details have yet been released of the cost or timing. There is also no clarity regarding the deal with Pfizer, and Covax. There is also no clarity on the government’s deal with Pfizer, and the 12-m doses secured from the international vaccine financing vehicle Covax or on those secured from the AU.

No vaccines have yet been approved for general use by the SA Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra), but the Department of Health could get permission to import vaccines already authorised by other stringent regulators, such as the European Medicines Authority.

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