Private and public sectors must collaborate on inoculation drive: expert

South Africa's first batch of COVID-19 vaccines has left India and is currently en route. The 1-million doses of Oxford University-AstraZeneca vaccines, will be administered to healthcare and frontline workers during the country's first wave of inoculations. For more, Anlie Hattighn speaks to Health Department's Rob Botha. Courtesy #DStv403

JOHANNESBURG - After months of uncertainty and confidential negotiations between government and pharmaceutical companies, the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines will arrive in South Africa on Monday afternoon.

The one million doses of the Oxford University AstraZeneca vaccine left India on Sunday morning from the Serum Institute of India.

READ: COVID-19 in SA: One million vaccine doses expected from India

It's expected to land on our shores on Monday afternoon.

The official coordinating the vaccine supply chain said the only way South Africa's inoculation drive will be successful is if both the private and public sectors come to the table.

READ: Plane carrying SA's first batch of vaccines en route to OR Tambo

"I don't think any one of us is under the illusion that this is going to be easy," said Rob Botha.

"It is a mammoth task and as has already been mentioned, it's gonna require close cooperation both public and private sectors, government departments to get this right."

READ: ANC: The vaccine will be prioritised

"I think we do need to know, and maybe the public isn't always aware of this, is that the National Department of Health -- the public sector in health -- through the childhood vaccination programme manages 25-million doses per annum at the moment.

"So that's a significant number. Clearly, this is a much larger portion," Botha said.

READ: Expert: Vaccines are safe

"There is experience within the public sector to be able to do this. But it can't be done by the public sector alone.

"This is where adding the private sector collaboratively into this mix will definitely go a long way to actually achieving the targets that government is actually aiming for to achieve the herd immunity that we heard earlier."


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