Pune: The Serum Institute of India (SII) has fully refunded South Africa for the 500,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, which were not delivered to the country after it decided not to use the vaccine because it was not effective against a new variant of the virus. A million doses from the institute, which had already been delivered, have now been sold on to other countries in the African Union, the publication mint reported, quoting PTI.
“Treasury has confirmed that the Serum Institute of India has fully refunded us for the remaining 500,000 doses that had not been delivered to South Africa and the money is already in our bank account,” Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said at a televised media briefing on Thursday.
“I want to clarify this quite clearly, as this now closes the matter of the AstraZeneca vaccine and also we close it without incurring any fruitless and wasteful expenditure,” he said.
Mkhize said that there was a huge concern among South Africans that these vaccines would now be wasted.
“But we want to indicate that all of the AstraZeneca vaccines have been salvaged,” he said.
“The one million doses that we have received have been sold to the African Union platform and have been distributed to many African countries, which have been able now to have access to these vaccines,” Mkhize was quoted as saying.
Explaining why other states in Africa could use the 500,000 doses of the vaccine, which were rejected by South Africa, he said, “The difference between us and some of these countries is that they actually don’t have the same variant as what we have got and therefore they also don’t have evidence in their countries that the AstraZeneca would be a problem. So, in those countries we go by the WHO guidelines that said it could be used, even if there are other variants in other countries.”