US donates Pfizer vaccine doses to SA

South African Acting Minister of Health, Mmamoloko Kubayi joined by Health Deputy Minister, Dr Joe Phaahla and Chief of Mission at US Embassy in South Africa Mr Todd Haskell as 2.8 Million Pfizer vaccine doses arrive at OR Tambo International Airport donated by the USA government. The next batch will arrive on Tuesday to conclude the 5.6 m doses donation. (Photo credit Elmond Jiyane, GCIS)

2 August 2021

South Africa has received 2.8 million Pfizer vaccine doses from the United States as part of a donation that is set to boost the country’s vaccination rollout campaign.

Acting Health Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi was joined by Deputy Minister, Dr Joe Phaahla and the Chief of Mission at the US Embassy in South Africa, Todd Haskell, in accepting the consignment at OR Tambo International Airport on Saturday.

The initiative is part of the collaboration between the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT), COVAX, and the US government, with the African Union Member States set to receive about 25 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to enhance coverage across the continent, and vaccinate at least 60% of the African population.

“The next batch will arrive on Tuesday to conclude the 5.6 million doses. The donation will contribute to the country’s expanded vaccination programme, which is fast gaining momentum to reach more people,” the Health Department said.

The department said these life-saving vaccines arrive at a time when the country gears to vaccinate those aged between 18 and 34 from September.

“By the time we open for people between the ages of 18 and 34 to be vaccinated from the 1st of September 2021, we will be able to respond to the demand that this cohort will generate,” Kubayi said last week during a media briefing.

The department believes the donation contributes to the security of supply to meet the demands to reach government's milestones to inoculate the majority of the population soon.

Chargé d’ Affaires at the U.S. Mission, Mr. Todd Haskell, stated, “On behalf of the American people, I am very proud that we are able to donate these vaccine doses to South Africa and have no doubt that the medicines will help save many lives in South Africa. Over the years, through programs such as PEPFAR, the United States and South Africa have built one of the strongest bilateral health partnerships in the world, which is why our countries have been able to successfully work hand-in-hand since the very beginning of the pandemic to protect the health and safety of our citizens. South Africans know they can count on the United States, as a friend and partner, to support their efforts to fight the pandemic and get their economy back on track.”