vaccine rollout teachers

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Private firms, individuals in SA ‘can legally buy their own vaccines’ – but it’s not easy

After being dragged into a court battle with AfriForum, the government confirmed private groups can, technically speaking, ‘purchase vaccines themselves’.

vaccine rollout teachers

Photo: Unsplash

A joint press conference from AfriForum and Solidariteit has turned over some eye-opening details on Tuesday. Both groups revealed that the government ‘cannot prevent private firms or citizens’ from sourcing their own vaccines – allowing them to dodge the national rollout. However, the chances of successfully making such a purchase remain slim.

Can South Africans buy their own vaccines? Technically, yes

Kallie Kriel, CEO of AfriForum, presented a sworn affidavit from the government during the briefing. He confirmed the details, most of which explained that nothing could stop ‘the hypothetical situation’ of a civilian or private firm bypassing government to get their own vaccine supply. It’s a novel concept, but for Kriel & his colleagues, this must become a reality.

“The state is simply incapable of carrying out the process on its own. This is tragic, because when the ship sinks, we all sink. That is why it is extremely important that the private sector should also be on board. It is also never a good idea to have all your eggs in one basket. We saw what crisis arose with the purchase of the AstraZeneca vaccine.”

“We’ve seen that the government wants to use COVID as a test run to experiment with National Health Insurance. People’s lives are at stake now and what is needed now is for other role players to step in to ward off the vaccine crisis.”

How would you buy your own supply? It’s complicated…

AfriForum is now encouraging the biggest employers and medical aid providers to submit private bids for their own consignment of the COVID-19 vaccine, to prove they can do a better job than the ANC.

However, Health Department Director-General Sandile Buthelezi – who submitted the government’s affidavit to court – believes that no firm or person in South Africa could cope with the huge logistical challenge of procuring these inoculations.

  • – COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers only sell in ‘extremely large quantities’ .
  • – That means they will only really do business with national governments or global initiatives.
  • – The agreements signed by vaccine providers and governments come with extensive liability indemnities.
  • – That means almost every private institution or citizen would be unable to broker such a deal.
  • – No one is allowed to procure a vaccine unapproved by SAHPRA, either. Buthelezi also went on to state…

“The reality of the matter is that government and its officials have not yet had to determine whether such a legal prohibition is necessary. This is because there is no practical possibility of any private person or institution at this stage procuring such vaccines themselves. AfriForum appear ‘constrained to accept’ the truth of the issue.”