Amid a spike in COVID-19 deaths and infections in South Africa, the African nation is set to receive a million doses of COVID-19 vaccine from Pune based Serum Institute of India (SII) in January, which would be followed by an additional half a million doses in February, reports Livemint.
South Africa's Minister of Health Zweli Mkhize on Thursday (7 January) apprised the nation's Parliament that SII will be providing it with supplies of the vaccine which has been developed by British-Swedish pharmaceutical major AstraZeneca in collaboration with the University of Oxford.
As per the information shared by Mkhize, South African Government would use the vaccine supplies received from SII to immunise the nation's frontline healthcare workers. He also allayed concerns that the vaccine has not yet been approved by South African regulators.
Mkhize emphasised that the teams from the department of health as well as the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) were fine-tuning and aligning all the regulations and processes to ensure that there are no unnecessary delays or impediments to initiate the rollout.
He added, "We are all happy that the Serum Institute of India and the AstraZeneca vaccine have already been approved by various regulators and is being rolled out in other countries."
The announcement by Mkhize came amid rapidly increasing COVID-19 infections and deaths in South Africa, with a record overnight high of almost 22,000 infections and 844 deaths. The nation is presently battling a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
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