DSV Healthcare has been awarded the tender from the National Department of Health to distribute the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 mRNA vaccine to vaccination centres across South Africa.
This award is shared with The Biovac Institute, a public private partnership.
In a statement issued, MD of DSV Healthcare, Anthony Diack, said they were pleased to be able to utilise its existing infrastructure and capability to serve the South African community alongside the National Department of Health.
"This is a crucial task for South Africa and DSV Healthcare is pleased to have been selected as a nationwide distributor of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccines. We take our contribution for the greater good of our people extremely seriously and have the utmost respect for the task at hand," he said.
He added that well-developed infrastructure and cold-chain capabilities DSV is the largest private distributor of cold chain products to the public and private sectors in South Africa and has the experience, infrastructure, and cold chain capabilities to support the national initiative to vaccinate communities around the country.
Diack said these expertise are especially crucial when handling the Pfizer vaccine which needs to be stored, handled, and distributed at -70˚C.
"The extremely low temperatures at which the Pfizer vaccine needs to be handled are, of course, a challenge which supports the need for the appropriate cold chain capabilities and a well-developed certified distribution network", Diack said.
"DSV has one of the largest GDP compliant cold rooms in the Southern hemisphere and has spent many years investing in South African infrastructure and developing these specialised handling skills for both 2-8 ˚C and -70 ˚C, so I am confident we can bring the vital doses to the communities safely and securely," he said.
It is expected that the first doses will arrive to the country in the first week of May, followed by sampling and upon issuance of the Stability Certification the distribution of the first doses will commence.