Govt’s own estimates show a shortfall of 40m vaccine doses in 2021

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Health officials expect to see a shortfall of 40m doses of COVID-19 vaccines in 2021, a News24 investigations has found.

In an ‘exclusive’ News24 reports that this is according to estimates prepared for government’s recent Cabinet lekgotla which showed the first shipments from other major manufacturers are only expected to start arriving in May and June.

Only 32 650 000 vaccine doses were expected before the end of 2021 – enough to vaccinate 20 million people. This means an expected shortfall of 40 million doses, roughly 50%.

Metadata attached to the document shows it was authored by the national Health Department’s head of policy coordination and integrated planning Gaurang Tanna.

The presentation shows: Health officials expect the first 2m of 20m doses the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to arrive in May. Thereafter, anywhere between 1m and 3.5m doses are expected to arrive every month.

The first 1m doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are expected to arrive in June, with roughly 1m doses per month. A total of 9m doses have been confirmed so far, with an option for a further 20m doses.

Covax, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Vaccine Alliance equitable access programme, is only expected to deliver 2.1m doses in 2021, starting with an estimated 150,000 doses in March.

The report says the presentation makes no mention of potential doses through the AU vaccine initiative, although a figure of 12m doses has been claimed by health officials.

 

Full News24 report (Restricted access)

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