Health Minister Zweli Mkhize on Wednesday said South Africa would be negotiating for an additional 10 million doses of Russia’s Sputnik V and China’s Sinovac vaccines while the process of registering them for use in the country continued.
Mkhize said the two vaccines were at different stages in the process of being registered by the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA).
The minister and department officials briefed Parliament’s health portfolio committee earlier on Wednesday.
He said he received the latest reports from SAHPRA on the progress being made with registering the Sputnik and Sinovac vaccines for use in South Africa.
“We have actually asked that the department should lay a request for an additional 10 million of these two vaccines so that we actually start the negotiations while the registration process is ongoing.”
Mkhize said Phase 2 of the mass vaccination campaign would start in mid-May, targeting those older than 60 years, people with comorbidities and frontline workers such as police, teachers, community and industrial workers.
He said the plan was to increase the daily vaccination rate to about 250,000 a day.
On the warning that pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers should not have the Johnson and Johnson vaccination until scientists declare it safe to do so, Mkhize said this was a precautionary measure and should not cause alarm.
“There’s a huge debate going on around the scientists whether this course for pregnant women and lactating mothers is actually necessary, so that’s an issue for scientists and I believe that we shouldn’t be alarmed about it, but what we need to do is just get updated as soon as there is new information in that regard.”
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