South Africa will offer its stock of coronavirus vaccines that were developed by AstraZeneca Plc and the University of Oxford to the African Union after they were found to have little impact on mild infections caused by a variant of the virus first identified in the country last year.
Reports that the shots, which were bought from the Serum Institute of India Ltd., had expired and will be returned to India were untrue, and no money will be wasted, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize told lawmakers in Cape Town on Tuesday.
“I can also say that we have actually secured enough doses to vaccinate all the people who will need to be vaccinated in South Africa,” Mkhize said.
South Africa has pivoted to using shots developed by Johnson & Johnson for its initial inoculations, with more than 380 000 health-care workers having registered to receive them. The government aims to vaccinate about two-thirds of the population of 60 million people to achieve herd immunity.
The first vaccines will be issued as part of a study, allowing normal regulatory approvals to be bypassed.
“We have identified 20 vaccination centers in all nine provinces to inoculate 80 000 health-care workers over the next two weeks,” Mkhize said.