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PANDEMIC UPDATE

Anti-vax appeal – court asked to stop South Africa’s Covid vaccination campaign pending an investigation

Anti-vax appeal – court asked to stop South Africa’s Covid vaccination campaign pending an investigation
A worker monitors the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine production line in Gqeberha on 25 October 2021. (Photo: Waldo Swiegers / Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Three non-profit organisations have approached the Pretoria High Court to stop South Africa’s Covid-19 vaccination campaign until a full investigation by independent experts is concluded and outcomes are shared.

The Covid Care Alliance, Transformative Health Justice and a non-profit organisation called Free the Children – Save the Nation have asked the Pretoria High Court to halt the government’s efforts to vaccinate South Africans against Covid.

Respondents in the case are President Cyril Ramaphosa, Health Minister Joe Phaahla, the director-general of the Department of Health, the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority and National Treasury.

The attorney for the applicants, Riekie Erasmus, said on Tuesday that the case has been referred to the deputy judge president to assign the matter.

The case is being brought in two parts. The first is an urgent interdict, while the second is an application for a court-ordered investigation into the vaccination process, side-effects and possible deaths. 

According to papers before the court, the applicants want the government to stop the approval, procurement, promotion, advertising, encouragement, mandating, distribution, administration and funding of the Covid-19 vaccine in all public and private health facilities.

Read in Daily Maverick: “In latest guidelines, WHO recommends ‘the use of masks by the public in specific situations’

The applicants also want an order to prevent the government from saying that the Covid vaccine is effective in any way, and to stop all efforts to encourage people to get vaccinated against the virus.

The court will also be asked to order that no Covid vaccines be given to anybody and that all vaccination stations be closed. 

The applicants want an investigation into medical conditions that some people reportedly developed after receiving the Covid-19 vaccine. (Photo: pharmaceutical-journal.com / Wikipedia)

In addition, the urgent application seeks to stop the distribution and procurement of vaccines, further approval of paediatric Covid-19 vaccines or emergency vaccines.

The court is also asked to order the government to make a public announcement detailing the procedure to be followed by people who have suffered vaccine-related adverse events. 

The second part of the application, which will be heard at later date, asks for an order in the following terms:

  • An investigation into the medical and scientific safety and efficacy of Covid-19 vaccines being administered in South Africa;
  • The provision of 50 vials of the Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines to the applicants;
  • The provision of 20 PCR tests from different batches to the applicants;
  • They also ask the court to appoint experts, at the government’s cost, to analyse these – with the experts being decided on by the applicants; and
  • The court is asked to order both the government and the applicants to find five people willing to be vaccinated for the first time, and to submit blood samples.

The applicants want an investigation into medical conditions that some people reportedly developed after receiving the Covid-19 vaccine, and into the deaths of people who died after being vaccinated, and the “appearance of unexplained foreign-looking substances in the blood of vaccinated people in South Africa”.


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They also ask for information on cases of myocarditis and a rare blood clotting disorder triggered by the vaccine, and if “spike proteins” are passed on from vaccinated people to the unvaccinated. 

Read in Daily Maverick: “Covid vaccine drive running out of steam in South Africa while people continue to die

The applicants want information on the administration of the Vaccine Injury Compensation Scheme in South Africa.

Vaccine literacy has been identified as a shortcoming that must be overcome to tackle the campaign of misinformation and fear being driven by an anti-vax campaign on social media. (Photo: health.economictimes.indiatimes.com / Wikipedia)

Furthermore, the court was asked to provide access to all agreements concluded with any of the manufacturers of Covid-19 vaccines, and if any incentives were paid. 

The case comes while the government has renewed its efforts to vaccinate South Africans against Covid after the highly transmissible XBB.1.5 subvariant was identified in a sample from the country. DM/MC

Gallery

"Information pertaining to Covid-19, vaccines, how to control the spread of the virus and potential treatments is ever-changing. Under the South African Disaster Management Act Regulation 11(5)(c) it is prohibited to publish information through any medium with the intention to deceive people on government measures to address COVID-19. We are therefore disabling the comment section on this article in order to protect both the commenting member and ourselves from potential liability. Should you have additional information that you think we should know, please email [email protected]"

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