SA sells the soon-to-expire 1 million AstraZeneca jabs to the AU

'There was no wasteful or fruitless expenditure, this is a win-win situation,' said Mkhize. 

The second batch of 80,000 Covid-19 vaccines will touchdown on Saturday while the country looks to ship the one million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to the African Union (AU).

This was confirmed on Tuesday Minister of Health Dr Zweli Mkhize.

“It is my pleasure to announce that the next batch of 80,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson [J&J] vaccines will arrive this Saturday, 27 February 2021,” Mkhize told Parliament.

While there were reports that South Africa was rushing against time as to what to do with the soon-to-expire vaccines that were ordered earlier this month from the Serum Institute of India (SII), Mkhize has assured that the doses would be sold to the African Union.

“In regards to the sale of the AstraZeneca stock to the African Union I can confirm that we are selling the doses (not donating).”

Mkhize said this would mean that there was no wasteful or fruitless expenditure as the country failed to take the consignment back to the SII.

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“We have learnt from the AU that these will be distributed to about 20 countries in the continent, which will be in a position to begin protecting their frontline health care workers, this is a win-win situation,” said Mkhize.

He said that there had been proposals made that the J&J vaccines be preferentially deployed to the southern regions of Africa.

“This is so that we can rapidly deal with the variant that is predominating in South Africa and some parts of SADC. Having said that, we join the WHO and scientific community in supporting the rollout of AstraZeneca, even in regions affected by variants.”

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