(Bloomberg) -- The U.S. has donated 5.7 million Covid-19 Pfizer vaccine shots, the largest bilateral contribution, to support South Africa’s efforts to curb the spread of the pandemic and accelerate economic recovery.
The Biden-Harris administration pledged 500 million doses globally including through Covax, the Africa CDC and African Union, U.S. chief of mission Todd Haskell said in a statement.
“South Africans know they can count on the U.S. as a friend and partner, to support their efforts to fight the pandemic and get their economy back on track,” Haskell said.
The continuous reinstatement of restrictions to limit the spread of the coronavirus since the pandemic hit in March last year, has shuttered thousands of businesses and added to already rampant unemployment. The economy shrank 7% last year, the most in a century.
President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a new relief package on Sunday, to help businesses and individuals recover from a week of social unrest in the country and coronavirus curbs, as he eased lockdown restrictions amid slowing infections.
The Covid-19 third wave has passed its peak after infections driven by the Delta variant began subsiding in South Africa’s economic hub Gauteng. National coronavirus daily number of coronavirus cases recorded soared to a record 22,000 just two weeks ago.
The Solidarity Fund, a South African public benefit organization, will facilitate the delivery of the doses which will arrive July 31. To date, the country has administered 7,065,432 doses of the Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines which is equivalent to around 12% of its 60 million population. The nation must inoculate 67% of its people to achieve herd immunity.
“The receipt of these doses ensures ongoing security of much needed vaccine supplies which can be used to get as many South Africans vaccinated as possible in our quest to achieve population immunity,” the Solidarity Fund said.
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