South Africa negotiates discounted COVID-19 vaccines with Pfizer

*South Africa (The Rainbow Nation) says the cost of buying Pfizer shot is ‘prohibitive’ as talks on dose pricing continue

*Nigeria’s PTF on COVID-19 assures the citizenry that the first batch of virus vaccines will land in the country by end of January 2021

Alexander Davis | ConsumerConnect

As discussions continue on the dose pricing in the Southern African country, Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE have offered to supply South Africa with their COVID-19 vaccine at a discounted $10 a dose.

However, the country’s President’s office still has described the cost as prohibitive, according to agency report quoting a close source with the talks.

It was gathered that the price was worked out according to South Africa’s status as a middle-income nation, and is about half of what the drugmakers are charging in the US.

The source further disclosed the fact that the vaccine companies are running a vaccine trial in the country was also taken into consideration as regards vaccine dose pricing.

A spokeswoman for South Africa’s Department of Health was quoted to have said the ministry could not comment on the pricing as a deal is yet ongoing, report said.

Representatives for Pfizer and BioNTech in Europe declined to comment on the continuing talks, though said they are “firmly committed to equitable and affordable access for COVID-19 vaccines for people around the world, including South Africa.”

Report further indicates that the South African Government is coming under mounting pressure from its labour-union allies, opposition parties, and medical professionals over its apparent failure to secure any bilateral vaccine-supply agreements with pharmaceutical companies.

While at least 29 countries have already begun inoculating their populations, South Africa only expects to start getting shots for about 10 percent of its population in the second quarter.

ConsumerConnect reports the Federal Government of Nigeria also has assured Nigerians that the first batch of the vaccines will get to the country by the end of January 2021.

Dr. Sani Aliyu, National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, who disclosed this Sunday, January 3, 2021, on a private television programme monitored in Lagos, stated that there is a presidential directive to ensure that the vaccines are sourced as timely as possible.

Aliyu disclosed that the Federal Government is targeting to vaccinate 20 percent of the country of about 205 million people against the virus in the first instance.

That deal has been arranged through the Covax initiative, which is designed to ensure poorer countries can secure access to the much needed vaccines for immunisation against the raging pandemic.

Meanwhile, South Africa is reported to have had 1.1 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and approaching 30,000 deaths, regarded as the most of any African nation.

The South African Presidency in a statement Sunday said Pfizer is one of at least three companies the government is in negotiations with for the supply of shots.

The Presidency stated Pfizer has offered 50 million doses for healthcare workers across Africa that could arrive between March and the end of 2021.

The statement also explained that “factors that will be taken into account include the suitability for the South African context.

It as well noted that the Pfizer vaccine requires ultra-cold storage, and “the cost is also prohibitive.”

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