Ramaphosa Provides Optimistic Update On Covid-19 Vaccines
President Cyril Ramaphosa says discussions are in place with other vaccine manufacturers in addition to the COVAX facility which South Africa has already secured.
In President Cyril Ramaphosa's National Address on Monday South Africa was put under a level 3 lockdown with immediate effect from midnight of 28 December.
Ramaphosa addressed South Africans after the country surpassed the one million mark of Covid-19 cases on Sunday. He imposed stricter lockdown measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
While the lockdown seeks to slow down the spread of the virus, the vaccine is ultimately what will help South Africa to develop a herd immunity against it.
South Africa is set to receive vaccines in the second quarter of 2021, through the COVAX facility.
The COVAX facility is a pooled purchasing mechanism which many countries including South Africa has joined and is coordinated by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and vaccines alliance Gavi. This facility aims to ensure that all people across the globe will have access to a COVID-19 vaccine regardless of how wealthy they are.
A down payment of R283 million was made to secure South Africa's entry into the COVAX facility. This payment was made by the Solidarity Fund and the President has expressed his gratitude towards this Fund.
Ramaphosa says South Africa will be among the first countries to receive vaccines from COVAX.
He also says more discussions are in place with other vaccine manufacturers as the government wants to secure a sufficient amount of vaccines for its citizens.
"We are also having parallel bilateral discussions with a number of vaccine manufacturers, and will make further announcements once firm agreements are in place.
We are working to secure a sufficient supply of vaccines in the shortest possible time to protect the most vulnerable in our community, " said the President.
The president has emphasized that until the vaccines arrive in the country South Africans must be very viligant and must follow all health and safety protocols. Such as, wearing a mask in public spaces, washing or sanitizing hands regularly and keeping a safe distance from others.
The Department of Basic Education has said that the decline seen in 2020's Matric pass rate is not Covid related and would have actually been very close to last year's pass rate. The Matric Class of 2020 achieved a national pass rate of 76.2%.
After congratulating the Matrics of 2020, the Department of Basic Education turns its attention to implementing support systems for Grade 12 learners who did not do so well in 2020.
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