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South Africa to begin Covid vaccinations February

by OtownGist
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South Africa , which has been hard hit by a second wave of coronavirus cases, hopes to obtain its first vaccine doses next month, the health minister announced Sunday .
In recent weeks the South African government has come in for criticism , particularly from health experts, over the delay in starting a programme of inoculation against Covid -19.
“We are targeting February, ” Dr Zweli Mkhize told a news conference, while cautioning that before that can happen negotiations must be concluded with vaccine makers including Pfizer , Moderna and AstraZeneca, as well as with Russian and Chinese laboratories .
To finance its vaccine programme , the administration plans to seek help from the private sector as well as from the country ’ s main health insurers .
South Africa is also participating in Covax, the World Health Organisation ’ s mechanism for global vaccine distribution .
Last week the government paid a deposit of 15. 8 million euros to enter Covax, the mechanism for the equitable distribution of vaccines established by the UN World Health Organisation .
But South Africa , by far the worst -hit country in the African continent , does not expect to receive the first vaccine doses under that programme until the second quarter of the year .
“It is clear that the second wave that we are going through is affecting us to levels which are even higher than in the earlier stage , ” the minister said.
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“The only way to deal with the Covid -19 not only in South Africa but throughout the world is the provision of the immunity through the vaccination , ” Mkhize added ,
The country ’ s first main goal is to vaccinate 67 percent of its population of 59 million people , in order to achieve sufficient collective immunity to staunch the spread of the virus .
On Thursday South Africa registered a record 18, 000 new cases in 24 hours.
It is also the first African nation to top 1 million registered Covid -19 cases.
( AFP)

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