Cape Town - President Cyril Ramaphosa has insisted that there will be funds available for the procurement of vaccines once they start arriving in the country.
This comes as Deputy Minister of Health Joe Phaahla yesterday confirmed the first consignment would be delivered later this month.
Ramaphosa and top six officials met with black business on Tuesday to discuss the Covid-19 crisis. The president said this was a major project and they wanted to vaccinate 40 million people.
He said the issue of finances would not be a problem as the issue of fighting Covid-19 was a priority. The government has not indicated the cost for the vaccines.
The Department of Health has said it has engaged with pharmaceutical companies producing vaccines including Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca.
Ramaphosa said there was a push to get the vaccines into the country.
“Today we established the Inter-Ministerial Committee, which will be chaired by the deputy president, but I will chair the first meeting and set processes on the way,” said Ramaphosa.
“Financing is not going to be a problem because we will pay for the vaccines,” he said.
The Solidarity Fund had paid almost R300 million to the Covax facility for the procurement of vaccines.
The department of health has already said many countries have started with the jabs.
Phaahla said the peak of the second wave was beginning to decline after the latest figures.
He said when the second wave hit the country in November, there were more than 18 000 infections a day, but that number had now dropped to less than 10 000 infections a day.
He said from last year the world had been starting to investigate manufacturing a vaccine for Covid-19.
The World Health Organisation and pharmaceutical companies have been involved in these discussions.
South Africa also joined Covax as part of countries that were working on getting supplies of vaccines.
Phaahla said the country would get its first consignment of the vaccine by the end of January.
The department of health has said it wants to start vaccinating the health-care workers. They are targeting 1.25 million health-care workers.
The government wants to also deal with essential workers and other groups on the forefront of the fight against the virus to get the vaccine.
Ramaphosa said it would be a groundbreaking operation as the government want to vaccinate 40 million people later this year. This will be bigger than the 2010 soccer World Cup and the national and provincial elections, said Ramaphosa.