SA in vaccine talks with West, Russia and China, says health minister
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By Sputnik and Lifestyle reporter
Johannesburg - South Africa has been in talks with various Covid-19 vaccine manufacturers, including those in the West, Russia and China, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has said.
Speaking at a briefing on the national vaccine strategy on Sunday, the minister noted that the country aimed to immunize 67 percent of its population by the year-end. South Africans are set to start receiving Covid-19 shots from February, and most vulnerable groups will be the first in line.
According to Mkhize, the country has been in contact with a spate of vaccine manufactures, but since it has signed non-disclosure agreements, it cannot reveal many details.
"[We are in] discussions in relation to Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca … with some representatives from Russian vaccine [manufactures] and from Chinese [ones]," he added.
“We knew early on that the only way to fight Covid-19 would be to achieve herd immunity through vaccination,” the minister said.
Ministerial Advisory committee member Barry Schoub added that herd immunity would be used to slow down the rate of transmission of the virus.
“Herd immunity is basically the threshold of the amount of people needed in a population to achieve immunity toward the virus. We have calculated the 67% based on the reproductive rate of the virus” said Schoub.
First in the queue would be frontline health workers as they were the most important sector in the fight against Covid-19, Mkhize said.
The vaccine rollout would be implemented in three phrases, he added.