The government has awarded contracts for importing and distributing COVID-19 vaccines, a vital step in preparing for its mass vaccination drive, which is due to begin on 17 May, reports BusinessLIVE. State-backed vaccine manufacturer Biovac is to play a central role, but contracts have also been awarded to JSE-listed Imperial Logistics and DSV Healthcare.
According to the contract circular announcing the award, Biovac and Imperial Logistics have been appointed to provide importation services, while the job of transporting, warehousing and distributing the vaccines has been split between Biovac and DSV Healthcare.
Biovac will cover all the cold chain requirements for vaccines that require storage at 2°C to 8°C, at -20°C and -70°C. DSV Healthcare will only provide services for vaccines requiring storage at -70°C. A third company is expected to be appointed shortly to assist with the -20°C services, according to the circular.
BusinessLIVE reports that government has ordered 31m doses of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) single-dose vaccine and 30m doses of Pfizer’s double-shot regimen. J&J’s shots will be shipped in vials containing five doses, while Pfizer’s vials will contain six doses, said Biovac CEO Morena Makhoana.
Acting minister in the presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said the government had resolved its disagreements with J&J and expected to receive delivery of the first 1m doses it has ordered by Monday (26 April).