For quite some time now, there has been news- although not fully confirmed- whether India can come to a close understanding regarding the provision of the COVID 19 vaccines in South Africa. Now first things first, business ties and key commercial links between India and South Africa are not a brand new development.
It was only for the brief period during South Africa’s tryst with Apartheid that India didn’t engage with Madiba-land for any business interests. But the better part of the time henceforth has made India South Africa’s fifth-largest export destination.
And now, even as South Africa, which in the current circumstances has seen far better days in the past given its economic situation, is closer than ever toward finalizing a key agreement with India.
From an Indian point of view, it’s about stepping up the vaccine trade ties. But from the point of the view of the nation fondly described as the Rainbow Country, it’s a key situation regarding the provision of the COVID 19 vaccines in South Africa.
So what about the COVID 19 vaccines in South Africa must you know and what seems to be on the cards?
One of the most important pieces of news in all of January 25, 2021 was the fact that the vaccines provided by the famous Serum Institute of India have gotten an approval from South Africa.
This, purely in the course of the next course of action means that- South Africa’s health regulatory body, the undeniably important watchdog, i.e., the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority- will now want to move with the next most important step that concerns the COVID 19 vaccines in South Africa.
In lines with the above, it is pertinent to note the official word in South Africa with regards to the Serum Institute vaccine, being made in India:
Health Minister Zweli Mkhize announced on Friday that the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) has granted approval to the SII, which is producing the vaccine in collaboration with the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca, to supply the drug to the country.
Moving on, while a full-fledged official public order is yet to be made, it can be said that there’s a sense of unbridled enthusiasm surrounding the vaccine:
The approval comes amid growing concerns that the 1.5 million vaccine doses to be shipped to South Africa in the next few weeks had not been approved by the local regulator.
“We will, in the next coming days, engage with the public in order to give an update on the progress of the first batch of the vaccines that we committed would be received in the first quarter.”
In a country where there have been nearly 41,000 deaths (and approximately 1.41 million cases), the arrival of the COVID 19 vaccines in South Africa will certainly tend to a few raised brows.
While surely, there have been countries that have seen much darker side of the pandemic leading to several more lives lost- think for instance, France, Italy, Germany – the arrival of a vaccine is certainly great news.