SA must develop its own vaccines, says President Ramaphosa

President Cyril Ramaphosa said the country couldn't afford to find itself travelling the world looking for a vaccine.

A healthcare worker at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital prepares a COVID-19 vaccination on the first day of the vaccine rollout to frontline workers on 17 February 2021. Picture: Abigail Javier/Eyewitness News.

CAPE TOWN - South Africa has to be self-reliant and start the process of building its own factories to manufacture vaccines locally - that's the word from President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Ramaphosa on Thursday responded to the two-day debate on his State of the Nation Address he delivered last week.

One of the focusses of the debate was government’s vaccine rollout programme.

On Wednesday, Ramaphosa became one of the first two people to receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine which arrived in the country the day before.

He said Biovac, a partnership between government and the private sector, was using its vaccine storage and distribution infrastructure to assist with the distribution.

This, according to Ramaphosa was testament to the country’s capabilities.

Ramaphosa said the country couldn't afford to find itself travelling the world looking for a vaccine.

"It is urgent that we develop our own capability and not be running around the world, scouring the whole globe looking for vaccines. We must develop them here and now."

He said he has asked the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation to put together a team of scientists to begin the process of developing the country’s own vaccine to deal with this and future pandemics.

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