A senior health ministry official announced on 21st January 2021 that South Africa will pay $5.25 per dose for 1.5 million shots of the AstraZeneca’s Coronavirus vaccine from the Serum Institute of India (SII) which is more than what wealthier nations are spending.
This price is more than $3 a dose that South Africa and other nations in the continent are expected to pay for the same vaccines under an African Union (AU) arrangement and price European Union countries have decided.
The SII refused to comment when contacted by Reuters. AstraZeneca did not immediately decline to a request for comment.
Health department Deputy-General Anban Pillay said SII’s price for South Africa was based on the country’s status as an upper-middle-income level country, according to a report in the Business Day newspaper.
He told Reuters that developed countries that settled on a lower price per shot did so as they contributed towards research and development costs of the AstraZeneca shot.
Pillay said that the South African government would try to negotiate a lower price if it acquired more doses from SII but that it had been told $5.25 a dose was the standard global price for upper-middle-level-income countries.
South Africa’s health department declared the SII deal previously this month after being attacked by local scientists and trade unions for moving too slowly to acquire vaccines.
The SII is one of the various manufactures licensed by AstraZeneca to make it coronavirus OVID-19 vaccine.
South Africa has recorded the highest COVID-19 infections and deaths on the African continent. The statistics display more than 1.3 million cases and over 38,000 deaths to date. It is hosting clinical trials for the AstraZeneca shot.