Health department blocks scientists access to data


The Medical Research Council (SAMRC), issued a statement, revealing that the National Department of Health (DoH) had blocked access to data on its electronic vaccination data system to its researchers.

The system is also the government’s self-registration site for vaccinations.

“The blockage comes at a time when the Omicron variant of the coronavirus is seeing a resurgence of infections and a fourth wave in Gauteng and other provinces,” reported Business Day (7 December 2021).

According to SAMRC head of corporate communications Alfred Thutloa the data is needed to evaluate the efficacy of vaccines “which has become extremely important in the context of Omicron. It is also important to be able to monitor the safety of vaccines.”

A DoH spokesperson said the data-sharing agreement between the SAMRC and the department had to be tightened to address the issue of confidentiality of individual information about vaccinations.

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