South Africa’s CACOVID boosts vaccine purchase with $33m

The Solidarity Fund, South Africa’s equivalent of Nigeria’s CACOVID says it will spend 500 million rand ($33 million) to boost the country’s vaccine-rollout program. In Nigeria, CACOVID has so far not made such a game changing offer.

The South African group will use 16.5 million rand 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 from that country’s CACOVID 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 10.3 billion rand for vaccines for the next three years, with another 9 billion 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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