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.
51 Million vaccines 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.
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.
The committee welcomed the announcement of the appointment of the retired Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo.
He will chair the No Fault Compensation (NFC) structure.