32-m J&J vaccines exported to Europe, while SA is waiting


According to an exposé by the New York Times thousands of vaccines produced at the Aspen plant in Gqeberha in the Eastern Cape have been sent to European countries while SA was still waiting for its order from J&J. – Times Live 18 August 2021). Apparently the confidential contract that SA signed with J&J waived its right to impose export restrictions on the vaccines produced in the country. Fatima Hassan of the Health Justice Initiative said they would be launching an application to get full disclosure of the contract between the government and J&J.

Dr Tlaleng Mofokeng, UN special rapporteur on right to health, said it has been their general call that everyone has a right to life-saving interventions like the Covid-19 vaccine. He said the 32-m doses of the J&J vaccines that reportedly left SA could have saved millions of lives in the country and on the African continent. In response to the New York Times story, the Presidency said in the past two weeks, vaccines produced at the Aspen facility have been distributed to several African countries and that will ramp up in the months to come. The statement said SA is on track to receive the full J&J order of 31-m doses by March 2022.

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