SA, which was left scrambling to source Covid-19 vaccines after failing to timeously place orders with manufacturers, is set to pay a massive premium on the shots it has secured directly from the Serum Institute of India (SII), the health department confirmed on Wednesday.

After weeks of growing criticism over the slow pace of its vaccine acquisition plans, the government announced in early January that it had secured 1.5-million doses of the SII’s Covishield shot, which the institute is manufacturing under licence from AstraZeneca. It has now emerged that the government has agreed to pay the SII $5.25 (about R78) a dose, more than twice the price the EU negotiated directly with AstraZeneca in 2020...

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