Thursday, 13 May 2021

Cape Town: Deputy President David Mabuza says in order for South Africa not to be excluded from procuring COVID-19 vaccines, it had no choice but to accept full liability for the vaccines acquired.

This means that government had to accept conditions that COVID-19 manufacturers imposed on countries of the world, including accepting full liability in an event that vaccines had side effects, or risk being excluded from receiving vaccines from manufactures.

The Deputy President said this during a question and answer session at the National Assembly on Wednesday.

“The COVID-19 vaccine market is very different from the usual market for medicines.

“Globally, countries have limited options since all COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers have adopted the same approach.

“Therefore, countries must accept full liability for the vaccines acquired. In our case as South Africa, it was either we accept these clauses, or as a country we do not have access to any vaccines,” he said.

ACDP Leader, Reverend Kenneth Meshoe, had asked why government did not insist that manufacturers of COVID-19 vaccines be liable for any injuries or even death that might result from the use of their products.

The Deputy President said whilst faced with these conditions, government had a further obligation of establishing a COVID-19 Vaccines Injury No-Fault Compensation Scheme.

He said this is one of the critical components of ensuring that there are no hindrances in South Africa delivering a successful vaccination plan.

“The scheme will be in operation for a limited time.

“In the main, this scheme will provide expeditious and easy access to compensation for persons who suffer harm, loss or damage as a result of vaccine injury that may be caused by the administration of a COVID-19 vaccine specified in terms of regulation, at a facility within the country.

“We have a responsibility to ensure that our people are protected through this scheme.”

The Deputy President said the manufacturers of COVID-19 vaccines will not make any contribution to this ‘No-Fault Compensation System’, as this is part of the contractual obligations for all countries that acquire COVID-19 vaccines.

“We are learning from the recent experience of governments, who are reviewing reports of potential cases of severe side effects amongst vaccinated members of their population, that such a scheme is important.

“The COVID-19 Vaccines Injury No-Fault Compensation Scheme will contain and minimise the effects that may arise as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”