South Africa, which has been hard hit by a second wave of coronavirus cases, hopes to obtain its first vaccine doses next month, the health minister announced Sunday.
In recent weeks the South African government has come in for criticism, particularly from health experts, over the delay in starting a programme of inoculation against Covid-19.
“We are targeting February,” Dr Zweli Mkhize told a news conference, while cautioning that before that can happen negotiations must be concluded with vaccine makers including Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca, as well as with Russian and Chinese laboratories.
To finance its vaccine programme, the administration plans to seek help from the private sector as well as from the country’s main health insurers.
South Africa is also participating in Covax, the World Health Organisation’s mechanism for global vaccine distribution.