Solidarity Fund to inject R500m into SA vaccine rollout

By Monique Vanek

(Bloomberg) – The Solidarity Fund, set up to mobilise money to help South Africa fight the Covid-19 pandemic, plans to spend R500m ($33m) to boost the country’s vaccine-rollout programme. 

The fund will use R250m from its own account and an equal amount raised from donors, Chief Executive Officer Tandi Nzimande said in an emailed response to questions on Tuesday.

South Africa started administering coronavirus vaccines on Feb. 17, with health-care workers receiving the first single-shot doses developed by Johnson & Johnson. The government aims to inoculate two-thirds of the population by year-end and says it’s secured enough vaccines to meet that goal.

The support will help take pressure off a government trying to contain spending after a surge in debt and an economic contraction because of lockdowns to contain the pandemic. The National Treasury has set aside R10.3bn for vaccines for the next three years, with another R9bn available in an emergency fund.

The Solidarity Fund is in talks with the health ministry and other parties to identify what else can be done to accelerate the rollout of vaccines, Nzimande said.

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