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South Africa to get nine million doses of J&J vaccine: Business Day

This will take the total amount of doses South Africa had been promised to more than 30 million

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South Africa, which has yet to receive its first coronavirus vaccine, has been promised nine million doses by Johnson & Johnson, the Business Day newspaper reported, citing a health ministry spokeswoman.

The country is scrambling to secure enough COVID-19 vaccines after health workers and scientists publicly criticised it for not moving fast enough to inoculate its people.

Business Day said the nine million J&J doses took the total amount of doses South Africa had been promised to more than 30 million. Roughly 12 million doses are coming from the COVAX global vaccine distribution scheme, around 12 million from an African Union arrangement, and 1.5 million from the Serum Institute of India which is making AstraZeneca shots.

Anban Pillay, Deputy Director-General at the health ministry, told Reuters that in addition to the 20 million doses that President Cyril Ramaphosa said last week had been secured, “additional doses have been secured but we cannot make announcements until we close a couple of matters with the suppliers”.

The health ministry said earlier this month that it was in advanced negotiations with J&J. Local pharma company Aspen will be manufacturing J&J shots but unless a firm agreement is signed with the South African government all those doses will be exported.

(Edits by EP News Bureau)

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