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MPs accuse Mkhize, health dept of being unethical in vaccine rollout

Mkhize has been accused of not being truthful and for failing to clarify whether it’s a clinical trial or an official rollout plan.

FILE: Health Minister Zweli Mkhize gets his J&J COVID-19 vaccination at Khayelitsha Hospital on 17 February 2021 Picture: GCIS

CAPE TOWN - Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has come under fire from some members of Parliament on Friday, accusing him and his department of misleading the country on its COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

Mkhize has been accused of not being truthful and for failing to clarify whether it’s a clinical trial or an official rollout plan.

Department officials have briefed Parliament’s health committee on Friday, exactly a year after the first COVID-19 case was recorded in South Africa.

READ: SA marks 1 year since the first COVID case was confirmed

Deputy Health Minister Joe Phaahla has confirmed the Johnson & Johnson vaccines being administered are technically and legally part of a study.

“This is an expanded research in terms of the human trials.”

This angered some MPs like the Economic Freedom Fighter’s Naledi Chirwa who accused the department of misleading the public.

She questioned whether healthcare workers were aware the initial doses were part of a trial.

“It is concerning that the minister and department subverted the ethical process of the trial in regards to firstly performing on healthcare workers participating in this trial.”

NFP MP Shaik Emam has called the move unethical: “In my understanding that what the National Department of Health and SAHPRA have done is unethical because normally in a trial, you would call for people to participate.”

The department said just over 92,000 healthcare workers had been inoculated so far.

WATCH: 'A milestone for South Africans' - President Ramaphosa gets vaccinated

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