South Africa will get 1.25 million vaccines from the Serum Institute of India (SII), with a million coming in January and the remainder the following month.
The health ministry made the announcement on Thursday, adding that it was working with the country’s health regulator SAHPRA to ensure there were no delays with the rollout of the vaccines.
"We are happy that the SII/Astra Zeneca vaccine has already been approved by various regulators and is being rolled out in other countries.
Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said: “Therefore, as part of expediting the regulatory process, SAHPRA is applying reliance on that regulatory work.
“We also want to inform the public that the acquisition has been done directly by the Department of Health.
“This strengthens the credibility of the process as all the negotiations and payment issues are managed directly by government with the manufacturer.
“We will now be engaging all relevant stakeholders in order to ensure the efficient and effective rollout of the vaccine for health workers.
He reiterated that an estimated 1.25 million health care workers both from the public and private sector will be prioritised.
According to its Covid-19 vaccine rollout strategy, government is aiming to vaccinate 67% of the country’s population - or 40 million people - against Covid-19 to achieve herd immunity.
Phase Two of the roll-out will target 2.5 million essential workers which includes the police, miners, retail food, travel, and banking industries, persons with comorbidities, those in jails, shelters, and care homes and people working in the hospitality and tourism industry, and educational institutions.
Phase 3 will target 22.5 million children.
Mkhize confirmed that 21 832 new cases and 844 deaths were confirmed on Wednesday.
The total number of Covid-19 related deaths in South Africa now stands at 31 368.