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SA should work around vaccine development for future pandemics: US expert

Date: Feb 23, 2021

The Chief Medical Advisor to United States (US) President Joe Biden says developing countries like South Africa should work to shore up their capacity around vaccine development for future pandemics.

South Africa is continuing to roll out the 80 000 Johnson and Johnson vaccines that arrived in the country.

Frontline healthcare workers are being prioritised for the first batches of the vaccine.

Dr Anthony Fauci was responding about the greater role developed countries like the US could play in supporting countries currently suffering from a vaccine deficit in their mitigation efforts against COVID-19.

“The best way to have sustainable capability of being able to respond to outbreaks, not only the outbreak of COVID-19 but also the inevitable outbreaks that will also occur in the future. This is to build capacity within country that is sustainable capacity so one of the things that developed nations need to pay attention to is that in addition, in the immediate sense, which you do not have the time right now to have something built in a week or two, but to think for the future as well.

As in the intermediate time to have countries like South Africa and other southern African countries to have the capability to make their own vaccine so that they would be independent of having to rely on the donation of vaccines from other countries. And I think it goes for not only for South Africa but for so many other countries that have given the resources and the capabilities, would really be quite capable of making vaccine to take care of their own population.”

The Department of Health confirmed on Sunday that one-third of the 80 000 doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine received last week has been allocated to healthcare workers in the private sector.

The department also called on healthcare workers to be patient as it tries to overcome short-term challenges such as long waiting times.

--sabc--

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