The South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) says it won’t allow political pressure to cloud its science-based approach to approving health products where the safety of the public could be compromised.

The regulator was responding to the Economic Freedom Fighters’ (EFF) call for it to approve the ┬áthe approval of the Sputnik and Sinovac vaccines.

“It will be a sad day in the country when the regulator is undermined or influenced by any party,” says the regulator.

SAHPRA says, like other regulators across the world, it concerns itself with safety, quality and efficacy of health products.

“These essential requirements are consistently applied to all COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics that SAHPRA has considered for use in the country. SAHPRA cannot allow political pressure to cloud a clear science-based approach to approving health products where the safety of the public could be compromised. It will be a sad day in the country when the regulator is undermined or influenced by any party,” it adds.

The regulator says while it will timeously respond to the EFF’s memorandum to the organisation’s CEO, the public should understand that it does not favour any applicant as alleged by the Economic Freedom Fighters.

“The allegations against the SAHPRA Board Chair, Prof Helen Rees, are totally unfounded
and false.

SAHPRA, as part of its mandate, focuses on the safety and well-being of the public and no
vaccine can be made available until it meets these regulatory requirements. Furthermore,
SAHPRA must take into account the local epidemiology, and specifically which SARS-CoV-2
variants of concern are circulating in the country. In essence, the EFF wants SAHPRA to
approve vaccines without adherence to the critical components of safety, quality and efficacy.
This could compromise public safety,” the regulator says.

The African Transformation Movement supports EFF’s vaccine march:

South Africa is currently administering the J&J and Pfizer vaccines and 2 181 610 citizens have received their shots so far.