Legal setback in fight against Covid vaccinations for children impacts national roll-out plan, says Sahpra

File picture: Jennifer Bruce/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

File picture: Jennifer Bruce/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Published May 4, 2022


Johannesburg -The ACDP has been granted a postponement, with costs, to halt the roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccine to children between the ages of 12 and 17 but Sahpra says this is another setback in its vaccine roll-out programme.

The African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) and other concerned organisations approached the court, demanding that the Department of Health and South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra) suspend the roll-out of vaccinating children aged 12 to 17 against Covid-19 with the Pfizer vaccine.

In October 2021, the political party – including Free the Children Save the Nation NPC, Caring Healthcare Workers Coalition NPC, and the Covid Care Alliance NPC – initiated court action against the Minister of Health and Sahpra. The applicants asked the court for an order to stop the administration of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine to children between the ages of 12 and 17 years.

The party complained that in effect, the decision of Sahpra, in which it granted authorisation for the use of the Pfizer vaccine for children aged 12 to 17, was contrary to the best interests of children.

The party claimed that children were being used as a shield to protect adult society, when in fact the adult society should be protecting children.

The case was scheduled to be heard at the end of April 2022, but on the morning of the hearing the ACDP submitted a supplementary affidavit to the court and an amendment to their Notice of Motion.

The ACDP said it only became aware in the week of a document issued by Pfizer regarding the possible risks associated with this Covid-19 vaccine. According to the counsel for the applicants, this report was groundbreaking for the applicants’ case.

In a statement issued by Sahpra on Wednesday, the ACDP asked the court for a postponement of the matter owing to the late filing of the supplementary affidavit.

“The court granted the postponement and ordered the ACDP to pay the legal costs of both the Minister of Health and Sahpra.

“The postponement has led to a further delay in the finalisation of this important matter, which has the potential to impact the national Covid-19 vaccination programme,” said Sahpra CEO Dr Boitumelo Semete.

The vaccination roll-out for children aged between 12 and 17 started on October 20 last year, when the teenagers were given a single dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

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