South Africa’s National Treasury said that it is considering raising taxes as one of several possible mechanisms to fund the vaccination drive against Covid-19. The government views the procurement and rollout of vaccines as a public good and is committed to financing their rollout, with or without support from the private sector and medical schemes, according to Business Day newspaper.
Other options the Treasury is considering for this purpose include widening the budget deficit and reprioritizing government spending. The pandemic was a good case for emergency funding according to Treasury director-general Dondo Mogajane.
The department of health has now estimated a maximum cost of R20 billion ($1.3 billion) to vaccinate the entire country, while more recent internal estimates done by the Treasury are far lower than this Business Day reported. South Africans has criticised the South African Government’s scientists for the slow pace of procuring the vaccines.
Details about discussions with vaccine manufacturers were only released this month, and a charity had to pay the deposit for South Africa to join the Covax program in order to procure vaccines for the 1st planned rollout.
President Cyril Ramaphosa said the country will get an initial 20 million doses, with the first batch of 1.5 million shots of the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca Plc likely to arrive in January.