JOHANNESBURG, Feb 8 (Reuters) - South Africa’s health ministry called on Monday for bids from service providers to import, store and distribute COVID-19 vaccines for the second and subsequent phases of the country’s vaccination programme.
In the first phase of vaccination, which was due to start this week but has been suspended temporarily, healthcare workers are to be vaccinated.
The government said on Sunday it was putting on hold use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine after data showed it gave minimal protection against mild-to-moderate infection caused by South Africa’s dominant coronavirus variant.
The country is now waiting to receive deliveries of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine, possibly by the end of this week.
Service providers can bid to either import the vaccine or offer logistical services for the rollout, or both, the request for proposals issued on the Department of Health’s website said.
People over the age of 60 and those with underlying health conditions will be vaccinated in the second phase. Large pharmacies and logistics companies are expected to apply to offer storage and distribution services. (Reporting by Nqobile Dludla; Editing by Promit Mukherjee and Susan Fenton)