Deputy President David Mabuza has admitted that South Africa’s vaccine roll-out is not moving at the speed hoped for. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)
Deputy President David Mabuza has admitted that South Africa’s vaccine roll-out is not moving at the speed hoped for. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)

Mabuza says SA doesn’t have enough vaccine doses for all its sites

By Shakirah Thebus Time of article published Mar 18, 2021

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Cape Town – Deputy President David Mabuza has admitted that South Africa’s vaccine roll-out is not moving at the speed hoped for. The country had opened several Covid-19 vaccine distribution sites, but did not have enough doses for each.

As the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Covid-19 Vaccines chairperson, Mabuza with Higher Education, Science and Technology Minister Blade Nzimande and International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor, visited the Biovac Institute, earlier today.

Located in Pinelands, Cape Town, the Biovac Institute performs product development, formulation and filling of vaccines, packaging, labelling and cold chain and distribution.

The visit was to assess the facilities capabilities, infrastructure and investments made to support vaccine manufacturing and development.

The country has allocated R10 billion to purchase Covid-19 vaccines with agreements already entered into to acquire the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and the Pfizer vaccine.

Deputy President David Mabuza and the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology Blade Nzimande visited the Biovac plant in Cape Town on Thursday. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)

The biopharmaceutical company Biovac will collaborate with US-based ImmunityBio to manufacture a second-generation Covid-19 vaccine. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)

Biovac was created in 2003 as a public-private partnership (PPP) between the National Department of Health (NDoH) and the private Biovac Consortium to prevent the loss of vaccine manufacturing capacity in the country following the closure of the State Vaccine Institute (SVI) in 2001. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)

Mabuza said availability of vaccines remained a struggle for the country.

“In terms of our pace, we seem to be very slow. We are dependent on the manufacturers, when the vaccine is available, we fly it in, (then) we start inoculation. So the challenge that the whole world is facing is availability.

“We are inoculating as we’re speaking, but not at the pace that we want. We have opened a lot of sites, but with very little vaccines in each and every site.”

The country hopes to reach one million vaccinated healthcare workers by the second week of April, and to then commence phase 2 of the vaccine roll-out.

Around 157 000 healthcare workers had been vaccinated as of today.

Cape Argus

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