SA signs Pfizer/BioNTech deal, 20m Covid-19 shots to be supplied by mid-April

By Antony Sguazzin

(Bloomberg) – South Africa has finalised a deal that will see it supplied with 20 million shots of the Covid-19 vaccine produced by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE with deliveries starting mid-April, allowing it to begin a broad roll-out of inoculations, Business Day reported, citing the country’s Department of Health.

The deal had been delayed by Pfizer’s insistence that South Africa’s health and finance ministers personally sign the pact, which includes indemnity clauses to protect the company, according to correspondence between the ministers seen by Bloomberg and confirmed by the National Treasury.

Pfizer will deliver the vaccines every quarter, starting this month, the newspaper reported, citing Anban Pillay, the deputy director-general in the department.

To date South Africa has inoculated just over a quarter of a million health workers as part of a study being carried out by Johnson & Johnson. That’s meant that it’s fallen behind a number of its emerging market peers as well as other African countries.

(Updates with comments on deliveries in third paragraph)

–With assistance from Felix Njini.

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