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Ramaphosa applauds MTN’s COVID-19 vaccine drive

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President Cyril Ramaphosa.
President Cyril Ramaphosa.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has lauded Africa’s biggest mobile operator MTN for leading the efforts in making the COVID-19 vaccine available on the continent.

The president made the remarks last night when addressing South Africa on the progress in the national effort to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.

This as South Africa received its first consignment of COVID-19 vaccines. The consignment, consisting of one million doses of the Covishield vaccine produced by the Serum Institute in India, arrived at OR Tambo International Airport yesterday afternoon.

Said Ramaphosa: “MTN, which is one of our companies that operates across a number of countries on the African continent, has made a donation of $25 million to procure seven million vaccines, which will be made available to countries on the African continent within a matter of weeks.

“I would like to applaud MTN for this generous donation and I call upon private sector companies to follow the example of MTN.”

The president’s comments come a week after MTN announced a donation of $25 million to support the African Union’s COVID-19 vaccination programme.

According to the mobile operator, the donation will help secure up to seven million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine for health workers across the continent, which will contribute to the vaccination initiative of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC).

“The devastating impact of COVID-19 has been unprecedented and profound. Public and private partnerships are needed if we are to succeed in the fight against the pandemic and restore social and economic norms for our continent and our communities,” said Ralph Mupita, president and chief executive officer of MTN Group.

Ramaphosa noted the Department of Health has developed an Electronic Vaccine Data System to streamline the vaccine registration and rollout process of vaccines.

“This will allow us to capture all relevant data associated with the administration of the vaccine. This system allows a person to make an appointment as soon as they qualify for a vaccination at the vaccine centre closest to them. The system will record vaccinations as they are administered.”



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