The duo has offered their vaccine at a discounted price of US$10 a dose as South Africa battles with second wave.
The price is based on South Africa being a middle-income country and is roughly half of what the manufacturers are charging for the vaccine in the US. The decision to offer the vaccine at a discounted price was reportedly also influenced by the vaccine’s trial having been conducted in the country. Though a welcome move, the country’s presidency still regards the cost as prohibitive considering two doses are required for each of the country’s nearly 60 million people. An additional obstacle pertains to the vaccine’s ultra-cold storage requirements.
Worldwide, over 86 million cases and nearly 2 million deaths have been reported since January 2020. Over the past few weeks, 29 countries have already started vaccinating their populations using the few vaccines already approved. To date, South Africa has had over 1.1 million positive cases and over 30,000 deaths. The country is currently battling its second wave, largely driven by a new variant of the virus. Through the Covax initiative, it expects to receive enough doses for a tenth of its population during the second quarter of 2021 after making the initial payment in late 2020.