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HomeMedico-LegalDA lodges urgent application over government's vaccine rollout

DA lodges urgent application over government's vaccine rollout

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has lodged an urgent application to the Western Cape High Court to compel government to develop and release a comprehensive plan for the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, reports News24. Last Monday, the party's lawyers wrote to the office of President Cyril Ramaphosa, asking him to respond within seven days with a detailed report on all government's negotiations with vaccine suppliers as well as government's full vaccine rollout plan.

DA leader John Steenhuisen claimed no response has been forthcoming, leaving him with no choice but to approach the courts. He said: “We asked the court to instruct government to develop a comprehensive and co-ordinated vaccination rollout plan, and to deliver this plan no later than one month of the order.” The DA argued that the failure to provide COVID-19 vaccines timeously when these vaccines become available is a violation of people's rights in terms of section 27(1) of the Constitution to have access to healthcare services, as well as a violation of government's obligation in terms of Section 27(2) to take reasonable measures to achieve the progressive realisation of the right to access health care.

Furthermore, the DA argued that it's a violation of the right to life, as enshrined in section 11 of the Bill of Rights.

 

The DA has argued in court papers that government’s failure to secure sufficient doses in a reasonable time violate its obligations set out in the Constitution, says a Business Day report. Steenhuisen said according to information provided on the vaccines secured for South Africa, at best, the vaccine by the Serum Institute of India, which would allow 750,000 people to be vaccinated, 12m people from the vaccines secured from the Covax facility and AU and the 9m doses from Johnson & Johnson, left 18.25m additional people, needed to reach herd immunity, without the prospect of a vaccine.

“This failure to make any provision for about 45% of the population that the national government has determined requires vaccination is patently unreasonable and infringes the requirements of section 27 of the Constitution,” Steenhuisen said. He said there was ‘little basis for believing’ the best-case scenario set out was likely to materialise in the foreseeable future.

The DA did not count the 20m Pfizer vaccine doses announced by Health Minister Zweli Mkhize’s spokesperson, as this had not been made public by the time it lodged its papers.

Steenhuisen said there was no contingency plan in place. This had implications for the national strategy as-a-whole, as it was not known how long the vaccines were effective. Therefore, Steenhuisen said if 1.2m healthcare workers were vaccinated between April and June, but no other vaccines were delivered during the year, those workers may lose their immunity, or have it weakened, before the next phase of vaccination plan was even able to start.

 

[link url="https://www.news24.com/news24/southafrica/news/da-heads-to-court-for-govt-to-release-covid-19-vaccine-rollout-plan-20210129"]Full News24 report (Open access)[/link]

 

[link url="https://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/national/2021-01-31-opposition-casts-huge-doubt-on-sa-vaccine-strategy/"]Full Business Day report (Restricted access)[/link]

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