- President Cyril Ramaphosa has responded to fierce criticism over the nation's efforts to procure Covid-19 vaccines
- In his response, he revealed that Pfizer and BioNTech have offered to supply Africa with 50 million vaccines for health workers in 2021
- This comes amid calls for Department of Health officials to be dismissed after a dismal effort to ensure the nation has access to the hopeful answer to the pandemic
The Office of the Presidency has highlighted that Africa has few options to secure Covid-19 vaccines amid an increase in cases across the board.
In a response to queries over the nation's plans to procure vaccines, President Cyril Ramaphosa revealed that Pfizer and BioNTech have offered to supply the continent with 50 million Covid-19 vaccines for health workers during the course of the year.
Ramaphosa, commenting as the African Union's chairman, also revealed that Moderna has no supplies for Africa to procure, while another supplier redirected inquiries after signalling a lack of stack for the duration of 2021.
Ramaphosa has been subjected to immense scrutiny over the apparent lack of action in this regard despite a handful of trials currently taking place within South Africa's borders.
The nation has only managed to secure enough vaccines to vaccinate 10% of its 60 million citizens.
Bloomberg reports that Ramaphosa had commented that the costs of Pfizer's vaccines are 'prohibitive' with discussions taking place with Johnson & Johnson to make 300 million doses a year at a local factory.
However, even the President had to admit that the company had not clarified whether or not Africa would actually benefit from the vaccines manufactured on its soil.
An opinion pieced, published by the Daily Maverick, was signed by top members of the Progressive Health Forum, has called for Ramaphosa to dismiss Health Department officials for their alleged failure to secure vaccines.
Glenda Gray, president of the South African Medical Research Council, has called for the country to 'hasten access' to the vaccines as infections soar.
Earlier, Briefly.co.za reported that Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has once again updated South Africans on the latest Covid-19 statistics.
In a statement released on Saturday evening, Mkhize confirmed the latest infections:
"As of today, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases in South Africa is 1 088 889."
The Minister also confirmed the latest number of fatalities recorded in the country:
"Regrettably, 288 more COVID-19 related deaths have been reported: Eastern Cape 92, Free State 9, Gauteng 39, Kwa-Zulu Natal 29, Mpumalanga 6, Northern Cape 2 and Western Cape 111. This brings the total deaths to 29 175 deaths."
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