The Department of Health and the Solidarity Fund have made a down payment of $19.2 million (R283 million) to GAVI to secure the country’s entry into the World Health Organisation’s Covax Facility.
The down payment represents 15% of the total cost of securing access to vaccines for 10% (roughly six million) of the population. The country’s membership in the Covax Facility ensures that South Africa receives its equitable share of the vaccine once it becomes available.
The country had missed the initial deadline to make the payment last week and was given until Tuesday, 22 December, to make the payment.
Gloria Serobe, chairperson of the Solidarity Fund, said the payment was made in line with the fund’s previous allocation of funds and commitment to support government’s efforts to accelerate the rollout 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,” said Serobe.
Minister of Health Zweli Mkhize said: “It is a privilege to oversee a process that has brought together government, international partners and business for the sole purpose of delivering quality healthcare 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.
“We convey our sincere gratitude to the Solidarity Fund for their unwavering support to government to ensure that no one gets left behind as we seek to protect our most vulnerable citizens against the scourge of Covid-19.”
The collaboration with the Covax Facility will continue as the country ramps up efforts to put in place systems to strengthen logistical requirements to reach the populations identified.