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South Africa finally makes highly anticipated Covax down payment to secure vaccines

Minister of Health, Zweli Mkhize

South Africa has finally made its down payment for the Covax vaccine programme, after missing the payment more than once, leading to public outcry.

Earlier this week Minister of Health Zweli Mkhize attributed the delays to administrative issues. South Africa has been battling with a second wave of Covid-19 cases, reporting 8 789 cases on Monday, bringing the total number of infections to 930 711 since the beginning of the outbreak.

On Tuesday the National Department of Health together with the Solidarity Fund announced the country’s down payment of R283 million to international vaccine alliance, Gavi. The payment is 15% of the vaccine programme’s total cost and will enable 10% of South African (6 million people) to be vaccinated.

The department’s DG, Dr Sandile Buthelezi said in a statement: “I would … like to take this opportunity to thank the Solidarity Fund for providing the financial support that has enabled the country to meet the down payment obligations as required in terms of the agreement.”

Buthelezi explained that the department will make additional payments for the Covax programme next year, within their next deadlines.

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