COVID-19 vaccine procurement and rollout strategy in South Africa explained

South Africa's vaccine strategy consists of three phases.

COVID-19 vaccine procurement and rollout strategy in South Africa explained

Minister Zweli Mkhize on Wednesday evening, 27 January 2021 shared a guide to better explain South Africa’s vaccine procurement and rollout strategy. The guide covers details about the phased rollout.

SA’s COVID-19 vaccine procurement and rollout strategy

As per government communications, SA “will receive 1 million doses of the Oxford University-Astra Zeneca SII vaccine in January”, with a further 500 000 doses arriving at our shores in February.

South Africa’s estimated 1.25 million healthcare workers will be vaccinated first. In addition, South Africa reached an agreement with the COVAX Facility “to secure vaccines to immunise 10% of the population”.

As reported, the Oxford University-Astra-Zeneca vaccine “has already been approved by various regulators around the world”.

“Government is also working closely with South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) to ensure there is no delay approving the vaccine for use”.

Phased rollout for the COVID-19 vaccine

Government wants to reiterate that there is “no deliberate delay to access the COVID-19 vaccine”. It will be selected based “on their safety and efficacy, ease of use, storage, distribution, supply sustainability and cost”.

The three-phase rollout strategy will begin with the most vulnerable in South Africa, and government’s target is to vaccinate 67% of the population by the end of 2021. At that point, we’ll have achieved herd immunity.

Phase 1 will focus on the country’s healthcare workers, while Phase 2 will focus on essential workers, persons in congregate settings, persons over the age of 60 and persons with co-morbidities who are over the age of 18.

Phase 3 will target approximately 22 500 000 South Africans, and will be administered to persons older than 18 years of age.

Government as the sole purchaser

The report states that government will be the sole purchaser of vaccines – which will be procured from different manufacturers – and will distribute supply to provincial governments and the private sector.

Even though there will be different types of vaccines in the programme, individuals cannot be “vaccinated with two different vaccines”.

“The vaccination system will be based on a pre-vaccination registration and appointment system. All those vaccinated will be placed on a national register and be provided with a vaccination card. The national rollout committee will oversee the vaccine implementation in both the public and private sectors”.

Safety of COVID-19 vaccines

The report also highlights that vaccination is safe and “the best defence against serious infections” based on overwhelming scientific evidence”. The vaccine, in essence, “teaches your immune system to “recognise and fight the infection”.

Pharmaceutical companies hand over all laboratory studies and safety trials to validate that the vaccine does work. Any safety concerns are picked up by regulators when reviewing the data. […] Vaccines are made to save lives, not oppress, bewitch, possess or indoctrinate people”.

It does not “give you” the virus. It simply “presents the body with instructions to build immunity”. It doesn’t alter humans cells either and has already proven effective in the past against smallpox, hepatitis B, tetanus, measles, and more.

In addition, all vaccines go through a comprehensive approval process. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation iterated this point when they explained how “rigorous the process is for proving safety and efficacy”.

“It’s important that people understand that even though these vaccines were developed on an expedited timeline, they still had to meet strict guidelines before being approved”.

Government’s guide can be read in its entirety here.

Also read: Two-thirds of South African adults will reportedly take COVID-19 vaccine

Source : The South African More