S.Africa to pay big premium for AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine from India's SII - Business Day

The word "COVID-19" is reflected in a drop on a syringe needle in this illustration taken November 9, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

JOHANNESBURG, Jan 21 (Reuters) - South Africa will pay $5.25 per dose for COVID-19 vaccines from the Serum Institute of India (SII) - well above what others, including developed nations, are paying for the same shots, local newspaper Business Day reported on Thursday.

The Business Day report cited health department Deputy Director-General Anban Pillay as saying the price was based on South Africa's level of development and its past investment in research and development.

"We were advised that SII has applied a tiered pricing system, and given that (South Africa) is an upper-middle-income country, their price is $5.25. The explanation we were given for why other high-income countries have a lower price is that they have invested in the (research and development), hence the discount on the price," it quoted him as saying.

The SII, which Business Day said did not respond to requests for comment, is one of several manufacturers licensed by AstraZeneca to make its COVID-19 vaccine. South Africa is due to procure 1.5 million of the shots from the institute.

Other nations or blocs are paying much less. In June, for instance, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands and France negotiated a price of around 2.50 euro per shot for 300 million doses from AstraZeneca as part of a European deal to secure supplies of the drug.

The SII is also set to supply 100 million doses of the vaccine to the African Union for $3 each, Reuters reported. read more

Reporting by Emma Rumney; Editing by Stephen Coates

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