Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has announced that the Serum Institute of India has refunded South Africa for the 500 000 AstraZeneca vaccine doses which were never delivered.

Mkhize visited vaccination sites at Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital on Thursday, April 8, 2021.

“Today, I am pleased to announce that our finance department has confirmed that the Serum Institute of India has fully refunded us for the remaining 500 000 doses that had not yet been delivered and the funds are in our bank account,” he said.

“This therefore closes the matter, without incurring fruitless and wasteful expenditure and we continue to engage Astra Zeneca as they pursue their research and development for the next generation vaccine, which can hopefully deal with the 501Y.V2 variant and other lineages”

Government purchased 1.5 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine earlier this year, however they later found themselves in a bit of a sticky situation after a study found that it would not be as effective against the dominant strain of COVID-19.

Mkhize later revealed that they managed to sell the one million doses which had already arrived in the country – however the remaining 500 000 vials were still in India.

Mkhize: SA secures 51 million COVID-19 vaccines

Zweli Mkhize has assured healthcare workers that their welfare remains the most important to them as government.

“Your protection is absolutely paramount and we continue to fight everyday to accelerate towards our targets and ensure that we complete phase one within the time frame we committed to,” Mkhize said.

The country is expected to receive a combined total of 51 million vaccines – 20 million from Pfizer and 31 million Johnson and Johnson. The minister added that this means government can go ahead with its mass rollout campaign, which is officially due to begin at the conclusion of phase one in mid-May.

“Pursuant to our targets of vaccinating all health care workers by the end of phase one, and to honouring the schedules we have committed to for phase two and phase three, we are pleased to announce that Johnson and Johnson have confirmed that we will receive 1 099 200 doses this month. The exact date of delivery is currently awaiting the quality assurance processes, of which documentation has been submitted to the authorities already yesterday, 7 April 2021”

Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize

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Presh JM Reporter

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