SA on track to receive COVID-19 vaccines on agreed-upon date: Health Minister

South Africa Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize says the country is on track to receive COVID-19 vaccines on the agreed-upon date.

The country expects 1,5 million doses from India’s Serum Institute at the end of January.

Minister Mkhize says government is negotiating for another batch of vaccines from various manufacturers.

“I did say it will be arriving in January. The real challenge is the day to day changes with signatures but we are assured of the date we have agreed upon. As soon as the vaccines come, we will then start the vaccination programme in February. Our plans are on course, that we will be able to take our health workers through on that programme. We are anticipating a million and next month we are expecting another 500 000. The rest of the dosages will be announced once the agreements are confirmed.”

EXPLAINER: South Africa’s vaccine rollout plan:

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Possibility of a new tax to fund vaccine

If a “wealth tax” is to become a reality in South Africa, it’s likely to affect people whose assets are worth more than R3.6-million. That’s according to economist – Lavan Gopaul, who was discussing the likelihood of a new tax to assist government’s efforts in trying to procure COVID-19 vaccines.

Even though National Treasury says there is enough money for these vaccines, they have not ruled out the possibility of a tax hike.

Gopaul says given the country’s poor financial situation, government may even have to borrow more money from local and international banks.

He adds, “That extra wealth tax would range from about 3% from the initial bracket, going all the way up to 7% for people whose wealth exceeds R119 million. Any lending or borrowing that is undertaken by government is now at a higher rate than previously. It may end up being a blend of some borrowing and some increases as far as the SA government goes.”

South Africa has reported 1 412 986 coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic and over 40 000 COVID-19 related deaths.

Source: SABC News