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Health Committee welcomes decision to ‘voluntarily halt’ J&J vaccine roll out

health care worker
Picture source: Pexels

By Kaya 959 News

Committee Chairperson for the Portfolio Committee on Health, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, has welcomed the decision to voluntarily pause the rollout of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Yesterday, Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize announced the ‘precautionary halt’ after an American woman died after she developed blood clots days after she was given the vaccine.

He said at least six women reported having developed clots following their vaccination.

“We remain confident as a government and are happy that of almost 300 000 people that have been vaccinated with the J&J vaccine in South Africa.

“We have not received any reports of adverse events that have been caused by the vaccine including blood clots,” Mkhize said.

“I humbly call for calm and patience as we ensure that we continue to be properly guided by science in ensuring the safety of our people as we roll out the vaccine campaign,” the minister said.

He briefed the committee yesterday on the J&J clinical trials, vaccine procurement and progress on the vaccination rollout programme.
51 Million vaccines secured
Dhlomo said he was pleased with the announcement that 51 million vaccines have been secured to date been secured.

 In his opening remarks, Dr Dhlomo questioned the Minister on how many vaccines have been procured from Johnson & Johnson and the cost for each vaccine.

Dr Dhlomo further asked for more information on other vaccines that are being procured and what the cost of each vaccine is.

Dr Dhlomo requested more details on the agreements that the government has entered into with the pharmaceutical companies and if they are onerous clauses.

No-Fault Compensation Regulations

 

Minister Mkhize said as a government they have found themselves in a precarious position of having to choose between saving citizens’ lives and risking putting the country’s assets into a private company’s hands.

The committee was informed that some of the conditions in the first agreement have been met but in relation to the second agreement, J&J put a precondition that the No Fault Compensation Regulations be published by 30 April.

Pfizer has made the same condition.

“Furthermore, another precondition stated that they wanted to have sole discretion to determine additional terms and guarantees for us to fulfill the indemnity obligations. That condition posed a risk to our assets and fiscus,” he said.

The committee said it is dismayed by the terms demanded by the pharmaceutical companies.

Officials expressed concern over the financial implications that the announcement made should the vaccine create and be found to have challenges.

However, the committee noted the difficulties of the negotiations with the manufacturers to find suitable terms and agreements.

The committee welcomed the announcement of the appointment of the retired Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo.

He will chair the No Fault Compensation (NFC) structure.

The NFC fund will uphold the principles of fairness, transparency, equity and protect the constitutional rights of citizens.

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