Legal bid to stop Covid-19 vaccinations for children

Published Nov 7, 2021


A DURBAN doctor has serious misgivings about the Department of Health’s (DoH) recent Covid-19 vaccine roll-out programme for children aged 12–17, as well as their handling of various other coronavirus-related matters.

Dr Naseeba Kathrada’s organisation, Caring Healthcare Workers Coalition, represented by attorney Kuben Moodley of law firm Pather and Pather Attorneys, was among four applicant’s who recently lodged an urgent application to halt the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine rollout for children.

The African Christian Democratic Party is the first applicant in the matter, which will be heard at the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Tuesday.

Free The Children–Save the Nation and the Covid Care Alliance are the other applicants.

The minister of health, the national health department’s acting director and the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra) are the respondents.

Kathrada questioned the decision to vaccinate children.

“The World Health Organisation has said the survivors of Covid-19 in the 12–17 age group is around 100%; why on earth do you want to vaccinate?” she asked.

“They (the DoH) are saying they want to vaccinate to protect the people around the kids, which is ludicrous because a vaccinated person and an unvaccinated person can give and get Covid-19. So how is vaccinating a person going to protect people around them when they can still get infected?”

Sahpra approved “emergency use authorisation” of the Pfizer vaccine for children on September 10, in accordance with a clause in the Medicines and Related Substances Act.

The DoH rolled out the vaccine for children on October 20.

But before the jabs were administered, the ACDP made a request for information to Sahpra and the DoH on how they arrived at a decision to clear the vaccine for children.

They are yet to receive a response.

On October 8, Free The Children lodged an internal appeal against Sahpra’s approval of the Pfizer vaccine on the basis that it was not in the best interests of the children.

Ten days later, Free the Children and the ACDP teamed up and sent a letter of demand to the respondents, asking for the immediate suspension of the rollout until the appeal was finalised.

The department ignored the letter and advertised its rollout programme would commence on October 20, the applicants responded with their urgent application (October 29), and the department has since indicated their intention to oppose it.

In its previous meeting with Free the Children, Sahpra apparently conceded that it relied on information furnished to it by the pharmaceutical companies and did not require any specific testing or critical analysis of its own, the court documents read.

However, the applicants state that a blanket roll-out of the vaccine for children is not within the scope of the authorisation granted by Sahpra, but it was for emergency use only, where each case had to be measured on its own merits before approval was granted. And, the product was in an experimental stage.

Therefore, the rollout was “unlawful and highly irregular”, and on that alone, the programme should be stopped immediately.

They stated there was no scientific or rational grounds for children to be vaccinated against the coronavirus presently, and the vast majority were unlikely to become seriously ill or die when infected with Covid-19.

It was suggested that people were only agreeing to the vaccination out of fear.

They asked that until the appeal was finalised, the court must interdict the rollout programme.

They also warned that a successful appeal could result in civil and criminal liability for the respondents, and a huge financial burden on the State, if any of the children who received the vaccine suffered adverse effects.

Kathrada previously championed the use of the medication Ivermectin in the fight against Covid-19. That battle also rolled into court before common ground was achieved.

She said doctors had been using Ivermectin for many years, but now there was a vaccine that was only eight months old and has been approved without informed consent.

Kathrada said she was duty-bound to give her patients the best medical advice based on first hand information from colleagues and organisations all over the world. She is also on the steering committee of the World Council for Health.

“From what I know, children in that age group should not be taking the vaccine.

She expressed concern about the rapid roll out of the vaccines without, in her opinion, enough data on safety and efficacy of these newly developed vaccines.

“I know for a fact that a large quantity of the Pfizer vaccines expire in November. We have paid for them and the uptake has not been good and now they are encouraging people to take a third dose.

“Why is the public not being informed about this, yet there are big drives for people to wear masks and vaccinate?"

She was also concerned that people don’t understand their rights and that is due to a manipulation by the authorities who have put the fear of death into everyone over the last 18 months.

‘We wake up every morning and we hear about how many people are dying. As a result, we don't consider our rights.”

Kathrada said many people who have been vaccinated have never seen the vial the medication was drawn from.

“In many vaccination sites, the vaccines arrive already drawn out at another site and they are distributed in a cooler box, from which it is administered.

So there isn't a vial for someone to inspect, which is a person’s right.”

“People seldom ask those questions, but allow someone to jab them with something not knowing whether it is the right thing to administer.

"This happens only because people are scared or have been coerced into doing it.

"With all of that in mind, do we still want kids vaccinated? Yet, the authorities say children don’t need parental consent.

That is ludicrous.”

But the department of health said that vaccines saved lives and it made scientific sense to vaccinate children.

The department’ media relations director, Foster Mohale said it was for this reason the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) had approved the dose for this age group, and why the decision was also supported by the ministerial advisory committee on vaccines.

“A number of countries globally have been vaccinating children long before South Africa because there is scientific evidence to support that,” he said.

Mohale pointed out that there was plenty of global evidence showing vaccinations saved lives, including children's lives.

He said that with the matter now set to go before the court, they would present their evidence there. However, the department believed the court would rule in their favour because they were protecting children's lives against a deadly pandemic.

“We don't force anyone to vaccinate because vaccination is not mandatory. It is up to the parents and guardians to act in the best interest of their children.”

In response to allegations that the department had sinister intentions, Mohale said: “People are free to exercise their freedom of speech, and their opinions suit them.”

SAHPRA communications manager Yuven Gounden said: “At this stage, SAHPRA cannot comment. This is now a court matter.”