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Pfizer demands SA ministers personally sign vaccine pact

So that it is indemnified from any claims made against it in the country regarding the shot.
Image: Bloomberg

Pfizer Inc. is demanding that South Africa’s health and finance ministers personally sign a Covid-19 vaccine-supply agreement so that it is indemnified from any claims made against it in the country regarding the shot.

The demand is contained in a March 24 letter from South Africa’s Health Minister Zweli Mkhize to his finance counterpart Tito Mboweni, seen by Bloomberg and confirmed by the National Treasury. Pfizer was not satisfied by assurances that the signature of the country’s health director general was sufficient to guarantee the indemnity, Mkhize said.

The demand threatens to further delay the roll out of South Africa’s vaccine program, which is lagging behind that of emerging market peers and a number of African countries, and heightens pressure on the government. The agreement is for the supply of 20 million doses of the vaccine made by Pfizer and BioNTech SE.

The ministerial signatures will give Pfizer the “assurance that the terms of the indemnity clause are acknowledged by government and, as such, any liability that may be established will be covered by the fiscus,” Mkhize wrote. “You will no doubt agree with me that there is mounting pressure and we can no longer justify publicly any further delays.”

Mkhize’s spokeswoman declined to comment. The National Treasury said in a response to a query that discussions about the signing of agreements were ongoing and confirmed receipt of the letter.

“We are in discussions with the Government in South Africa to provide access to the vaccine,” Pfizer said in a response to queries. “These discussions are confidential and we have nothing to announce at the current time.”

The demand was the last Pfizer would make and, once signed, vaccines would begin to arrive within two weeks, Mkhize said.

With over 1.5 million recorded infections and almost 53 000 deaths, South Africa is the worst-affected country by the coronavirus on the continent. So far only 231 605 people have been vaccinated as part of a study using Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine while a wider vaccination program is yet to begin.

The government has said an initial target to vaccinate 40 million people this year will be missed.

On March 26, News24, a South African news website, said larger deliveries of Johnson & Johnson’s shots would be delayed because the government had not set up a no-fault compensation fund, citing people it didn’t identify. Anban Pillay, a deputy director general in the health department, told Bloomberg there were no delays without giving further information.

© 2021 Bloomberg

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Will make not difference.

They are all anc cadre’s. NONE of them can be trusted. Why would Pfizer think they can be trusted.

Or do they know they cant be trusted they just want to shorten the court processes should they renege on the agreement.

No trust!!!!

Getting the ANC to indemnify you against themselves is impossible. Here comes the Sputniks !!

The boss of the big Western Country said sign so you will sign !
ANC and the rest of this continent inst going to develop any vaccines..simply not capable so then will have to do as the boss in the West says.

Nice and humiliating for the ANC cadres. They must understand that they are complete beggars here and totally dependent on western technology and intellectual capital

Your comment is so condescending. It is for this reason that there is so much resentment in this country towards the white minority because they still behave and think like colonialist, but when the populace express their anger towards you than you feel like packing up and migrating.

Simply, the big multi nationals are covering their ass for any future repercussions.

When South Africa rejected the AstraZanecca vaccine, we had the very similar comments from the grumpy minority, but when the very European countries reject it than it was fine.

We need to stop treating everyone black or ANC as idiots. There is corruption all over, France Sarkozy, Israels Natanyahu, America’s Trump(It almost became a family run business) etc.

You are so correct. I am thoroughly condescending towards the ANC. And yes there are crooks in many places. The difference is they get pursued, charged and tried.

Here half the ANC MPs-or more -have criminal records. The ANC destroyed SOEs(Eskom, Denel, SAA), messed up the vaccine program , destroyed our debt rating, and have delivered very little for their electorate in 27 years.

And dont try the race card. If Sim Tshabalala, Sipho Nkosi, Prof Thuli etc were in cabinet we would not have the gangster state that we now have-the problem is the ANC and I ,like many,view them as simply incapable of governing

End of comments.

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