JOHANNESBURG – Over 2.2 million additional doses of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine will be delivered this weekend to the Republic of South Africa as part of a generous donation on behalf of the American people through the African Union. These doses, which will arrive at O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, will enable the Government of the Republic of South Africa to vaccinate more than a million South African citizens against COVID-19. The United States is committed to leading the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic and accelerating global vaccine distribution as the world’s largest single donor to COVAX. All countries need vaccines that meet rigorous standards for safety and effectiveness.
In coordination with the South African National Department of Health (NDoH), the U.S. Government is bringing more than vaccines to South Africa. Through an investment by the U.S. Development Finance Corporation we are also helping South Africa to develop its internal capacity to produce effective vaccines against COVID-19, and to research and develop new vaccines against a variety of diseases. This approach capitalizes on South Africa’s world-class medical facilities and the scientists graduating from the strongest university system on the continent.
In addition, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Government is supporting the South African Government’s efforts to strengthen its health systems capacity to better respond to COVID-19. USAID recently committed an additional $6 million (approximately R87 million) to support disaster medicine planning, such as recruiting short-term health workers and increasing current hospital and oxygen capacity. This funding also supports continuing vaccine education and information system for the vaccine rollout. In addition, CDC continues to support South Africa Government vaccination efforts through epidemiological and surveillance support, and vaccination preparedness. In close coordination with our South African partners, we seek to ensure these donated vaccines protect as many South African lives as possible.
Finally, the U.S. Government, through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), has also approved plans to strengthen South Africa’s HIV prevention, care, and treatment services and combat the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on the HIV response. That’s why over the next year, the U.S. Government will focus on mitigating the impact of COVID-19 on these vital health services; and making it easier for people living with HIV to get on and stay on lifesaving treatment by implementing client-centered strategies and services.
We applaud the Republic of South Africa’s aggressive vaccination campaign, and especially efforts to educate all South African citizens regarding the benefits of vaccination against COVID-19. As President Biden recently told the American people, “The vaccines are safe and highly effective.” The South African National Department of Health has made reliable scientific information readily available to the public in a variety of formats, setting the standard for how to fight this pandemic, not only for other nations in Africa, but also throughout the world.
We mourn the loss of life in South Africa due to COVID-19 and extend our condolences to those who have lost loved ones to this terrible disease. We will continue working together to put an end to this pandemic’s high toll on life, livelihoods, and secondary social and economic impacts.
For more information about this press release please contact the U.S. Embassy Pretoria press team at firstname.lastname@example.org.