SA couldn't afford to pre-order vaccines: expert

There is growing worry about why it’s taking so long for the country to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Prof Barry Schoub, Chairperson on the ministerial advisory committee on COVID-19 vaccine developments, has more. Courtesy #DStv403

JOHANNESBURG - Leading vaccinologist Professor Barry Schoub says South Africa couldn't risk buying a COVID-19 vaccine earlier last year because it wasn't clear how effective or safe the vaccines would be.

Currently, it appears the country will get the first batch of the prophylaxis in April.

READ: Criticism over COVID-19 vaccine delay mounts

Schoub said a number of high-income countries pre-purchased vaccines on risk a few months ago.

Some countries bought five times the amount required for their populations.

He said, "they could afford to waste the money that we couldn't afford to waste."

READ: Civil society organisations call for fair distribution of COVID-19 vaccine

"So we were preparing but we didn't have the finance to buy at risk."

"Of course, there's a bit of an advantage that we've got, because now more vaccines are coming online and we can evaluate which vaccines and we can see how the vaccines which already have been approved, how they're behaving in the field.

"Field behaviour doesn't necessarily totally equate how the vaccines behave in a trial situation." 

* Watch the full interview with Professor Barry Schoub above.


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