The first one million doses of AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines are officially on their way to South Africa.
The vaccines were reported to have left the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport in Mumbai earlier on Sunday.
The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) said in a series of tweets on Sunday that the vaccine dispatch from the Serum Institute of India was a “milestone”.
The institute is the main vaccine producer for AstraZeneca globally.
“This milestone highlights the solid relations and deep friendship that exist between South Africa and India, and further consolidated the cooperation between our two countries in the fight against the spread of the global pandemic.”
The rather ceremonial vaccine send-off was overseen by South Africa’s consul-general in Mumbai, Andrea Kühn, as well as India Airfreight and Emirates Airline directors and managers.
A banner with Mahatma Ghandi and Nelson Mandela’s faces on it was also produced, which read: “In the spirit of solidarity and enduring relations between South Africa and India.” Thank you was printed in different languages.
But not only has the campaign shown renewed appreciation for the relations between the two countries, it also kickstarts South Africa’s own mission to fight Covid-19.
The batch of vaccines currently making their way to South Africa are destined for the country’s healthcare and frontline workers.
The second batch of 500,000 vaccine vials is expected next month.
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