Makhura against the idea of provinces procuring vaccines directly from pharmaceutical companies

Image: Reuters

A medical practitioner vaccinates a patient.

Gauteng Premier David Makhura says it is would be misleading to think a province can directly procure COVID-19 vaccines from pharmaceutical companies. He has dismissed this as an illusion by the Democratic Alliance-led administration in the Western Cape.

Makhura was responding to DA Gauteng leader Solly Msimanga’s question on why the province was not directly procuring COVID-19 vaccines from big pharmaceuticals to fast-track the province’s target to vaccinate more than 10 million people.

He says pharmaceutical companies are putting pressure on governments to sign agreements to absolve them from any risks.

Makura says it is therefore important for the procurement of vaccines to be centralised.

“Vaccine federalism will not work. You will fall into the trap of these big pharmaceuticals.  Big pharmaceuticals act in their own interest. When people get disease big pharmaceuticals make big money. So set aside that illusion honorable Msimang. That is a dangerous illusion you will set out this country.”

Meanwhile, the province is continuing with its vaccination program.

Earlier the Premier visited the Charlotte Maxeke Hospital which has become the fourth healthcare facility in Gauteng to be included on the list of COVID-19 vaccination sites for healthcare workers.

Gauteng Health has already administered 16 000 vaccinations to healthcare workers at the Steve Biko and Chris Hani Baragwanath hospitals.

AfriForum calls on government to allow private sector to procure vaccines

Earlier, Lobby group AfriForum and trade union Solidarity urged government to allow the private sector to purchase and distribute vaccines to combat the coronavirus.

AfriForum says government has admitted under oath in its court documents that there is no legal restriction on the private sector to purchase COVID-19 vaccines.

AfriForum’s Ernst Van Zyl says allowing the private sector to purchase and distribute the vaccines would make the country’s rollout more efficient and corruption-free.

“AfriForum argues that the government monopolising the vaccine drastically infringes on the basic rights of all South Africans. The private sector’s participation in the purchasing and distribution of vaccines is essential for the protection of constitutional rights of access to healthcare. Apart from the possibility of abuse of power by the government, its track record of corruption and maladministration during the pandemic does not inspire confidence in anyone at all,” says Van Zyl.

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