ACDP’s legal application to halt Covid-19 child vaccinations to go ahead
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Pretoria - The legal challenge by the ACDP and other concerned organisations to halt the roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccine to children between the ages of 12 and 17 is still on track to go ahead.
This is according to ACDP lawyer Bongani Luthuli, who told the Pretoria News they were awaiting a date for the matter to be heard.
Luthuli said the matter still remained urgent, but it is now “dragging its heels” as various other parties, including Section27, are applying to join the proceedings as friends of the court.
According to Luthuli, the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, deputy judge president this week sent out a directive that all parties must file their heads of arguments regarding the joinder application of the interested parties.
The court must first decide on whether they may join before the main application will be heard. Luthuli said while he could not pre-empt when the matter will be heard by the court, he hoped it would be some time this month or as soon as possible after that.
The deputy judge president’s office must still allocate the date.
The ACDP and other organisations such as Free the Children – Save the Nation and the Covid Care Alliance will ask the court for an interim interdict against Covid-19 child vaccinations, pending the outcome of an internal appeal before the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra) to completely stop the programme.
The ACDP earlier sent correspondence to the Department of Health and Sahpra demanding the suspension of the roll-out of vaccinating the children aged 12 to 17.
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.
In spite of the looming appeal, the department went ahead with the roll-out of a comprehensive and fast- tracked plan to vaccinate the children.
As the ACDP has received no response to halt the roll-out, it will now ask for an interim interdict to prevent the department and health practitioners from administering Covid-19 vaccinations to children pending the finalisation of the appeal.
Section27 will ask to intervene as a friend of the court to argue that granting an interdict for vaccination of adolescents will have a negative impact on children’s rights to basic education, health and equality, among other rights.
They say this is because Covid-19 has made school closures and rotational timetables necessary, which has led to significant lost learning time.
Their stance is that vaccinations are crucial to help prevent further school closures and rotational learning.