S.Africa to pay $33 mln to global vaccine scheme, finance ministry says

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JOHANNESBURG, Nov 24 (Reuters)South Africa has taken a decision to make a 500 million rand ($33 million) payment to the COVID-19 vaccine distribution scheme co-led by the World Health Organization, the finance ministry said on Tuesday.

“We have been invited to participate in the consortium that is looking for this vaccine. … A decision has been made that South Africa is paying 500 million rand to participate in the process of the production of the vaccine,” Finance Minister Tito Mboweni told an economic conference on Africa.

Though Mboweni did not name the scheme, a finance ministry spokeswoman confirmed to Reuters that the payment Mboweni referred to was for the COVAX vaccine distribution scheme, the main WHO-organised partnership scheme for ensuring global vaccine access.

South Africa has submitted a non-binding confirmation of its intent to participate in the COVAX Facility but is yet to sign the formal commitment agreement on taking part.

The country has recorded the most coronavirus infections on the African continent, with more than 760,000 confirmed cases to date.

($1 = 15.3482 rand)

(Reporting by Alexander Winning Editing by Tim Cocks)

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