Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine widely accepted in South Africa

SPAIN - 2021/04/01: In this photo illustration, a close up of a hand holding a medical syringe seen displayed in front of the Sinovac logo. (Photo Illustration by Thiago Prudencio/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

South African government, political parties, labor and civil society have given thumbs up to the CoronaVac, also known as the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine, which they said would bolster the country’s fight against the pandemic.

South African Health Products Authority (SAHPRA) approved the use of CoronaVac in the country on July 3 to tackle COVID-19. The SAHPRA CEO Boitumelo Semete-Makokotlela said they approved the use of the CoronaVac vaccine based on its safety, quality and efficacy of the data presented to them.

The Acting Health Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane welcomed the CoronaVac as a “turning point and much needed relief for the country’s vaccination rollout program”.

“CoronaVac will boost the vaccine supply for country’s vaccination rollout programme in addition to those we already receive from Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson,” she said at a media briefing on Friday, “The approval came at a time when the demand for vaccines as more and more people are yearning to get vaccines.”

She said the expansion of the vaccine roll out would allow the vaccination of people aged 35 to 49 years-old set to commence on August 1.

South Africa’s opposition political party Economic Freedom Fighters welcomed the Sinovac vaccine calling on the government to make it available to the people soon.

The EFF spokesperson Vuyani Pambo said that “the EFF welcomes the approval of the Coronavac vaccine… for use against the deadly coronavirus in South Africa. The approval of the vaccine is long overdue… The EFF calls for the immediate rollout of the Coronavac Vaccine.”

South African Communist Party (SACP) General-Secretary Blade Nzimande said the country looks for more cooperation in the COVID-19 vaccine.

“The efficacy of the CoronaVac vaccine to the COVID-19 variants that are dominant in South Africa and its safety are essential. We are therefore looking forward to deepening our party to party relations with the CPC and inter alia, scientific cooperation with China in our struggle to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic and resolve underdevelopment,” he said.

China’s Embassy to South Africa promised to ensure that the country gets the CoronaVac vaccine to assist in the fight against COVID-19.

“The world is now still suffering greatly from COVID-19 and South Africa is facing the impact of a third wave of infections,” said the embassy in a statement, adding that “We will continue to fully assist and accommodate the South African side to see that Chinese vaccines delivered to South Africa as quickly as possible, so as to help the South African people fight and eventually defeat the virus.”

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