DURBAN – The Department of Health has welcomed the government’s R7.6 billion World Bank loan to pay for vaccines to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.
The department said, in a statement yesterday, that the loan would assist the country's response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“As we know that the country and global community are not out of the woods yet, this injection of additional financial resources secured from the World Bank will go a long way in protecting the lives and the livelihoods of our people against this life-threatening health challenge,” the statement said.
“A huge portion of the R7.6bn loan secured through the World Bank will be used to pay for vaccines mostly procured by the government between December 2020 and June 2021, most of which have already been deployed and used.
“This will also give the government flexibility to pay for other priority Covid-19 response activities. There is strong political commitment in South Africa to mobilise financial resources to respond to Covid-19, including for vaccine procurement and deployment.
“This project will establish an enabling environment for other donors, multilateral development banks, and UN agencies to further support vaccination efforts in the country.”
As the country commemorated Youth Day, the department also urged the country’s youth to get vaccinated and get their booster shots.
“Vaccine remains the best effective weapon against Covid-19 and we cannot afford to lose a single dose (due to) vaccine hesitancy.
“As the country commemorates Youth Day to pay tribute to the lives and sacrifices of the 1976 generation and to recognise the role they played in the liberation struggle of South Africa from the chains of apartheid regime, we urge young people to emulate them by actively participating in the struggle for a long and healthy life for all South Africans.
“This struggle cannot be achieved as long as majority of adolescent and young people don’t vaccinate in numbers and remain at increased risk of mortality and morbidity associated with HIV infections, substance abuse, teenage pregnancy-related complications and other preventable and treatable health conditions.”