South Africa Makes Down Payment For Covax

The National Department of Health and the Solidarity Fund has announced that South Africa has made the down payment to secure the country's entry into the COVAX facility. 

The South African government came under fire for missing its first payment deadline to secure the vaccines against the coronavirus on 15 December. This has been righted by the recent down payment that has been made. 

The down payment of R283 million was made to the vaccines alliance Gavi to secure South Africa's entry into the COVAX facility and the country's entry has been confirmed by COVAX. This amount represents only 15% of the total cost of securing access to vaccines for 10% of the country's population. The media release states that this payment was made in compliance with the Solidarity Fund's previous allocation of funds and commitment to support Government’s efforts to accelerate the roll-out of vaccines in South Africa.

“There can be no doubt that a COVID-19 vaccine will play an important role in helping South Africa manage the virus.

The Solidarity Fund was set up for exactly this purpose – to be additive to the work of Government and assist in initiatives and programmes that have the greatest impact in the fight against the pandemic. The Fund is grateful to be in a position to assist at this crucial juncture.”-Chairman of the Solidarity Fund, Gloria Serobe

South Africa as well as many other countries joined a pooled purchasing mechanism called COVAX which is coordinated by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and vaccines alliance Gavi. This aims to ensure that all people across the globe will have access to a COVID-19 vaccine regardless of how wealthy they are. 

The Department of Health’s Director-General, Dr Sandile Buthelezi has thanked the Solidarity Fund for the financial support which they have provided and says the Department of Health will make additional payments in relation to vaccines delivered under the COVAX facility when they are due within the next year. 

Minister of Health, Dr Zwelini Mkhize has called this achievement an epitome of excellence in health service delivery, also conveying gratitude to the Solidarity Fund for the support they have provided which ensures that all South Africans are protected against COVID-19. 

"It is a privilege to oversee a process that has brought together government, international partners and business for the sole purpose of delivering quality health care to the people of South Africa. This is what we have been advocating for when we speak of multi-sectoral collaboration and it is gratifying to see this spirit being harnessed for the good of our people, Africans and the global village."- The Minister of Health, Dr Zwelini Mkhize

 Department officials said that South Africans will only receive vaccines via the COVAX facility in the second quarter of 2021. 

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