Mkhize: Terms put forward by J&J before releasing vaccines are unfortunate

Mkhize said the pharmaceutical firm wanted a special acknowledgement about its investments in local medicines manufacturer Aspen before it signed.

FILE: Health Minister Zweli Mkhize. Picture: AFP

CAPE TOWN - Health Minister Doctor Zweli Mkhize said terms put forward by Johnson & Johnson before the company would release 20 million vaccine doses was unfortunate.

Mkhize on Wednesday said the pharmaceutical firm wanted a special acknowledgement about its investments in local medicines manufacturer Aspen before it signed.

The minister has made the revelations during a briefing to Parliament’s health committee on Wednesday.

Mkhize has given MPs an update on the suspension of the Johnson & Johnson trial study targeting healthcare workers.

He said they remain confident and happy that the more than 292,000 health workers vaccinated have not reported any adverse effects.

However, Mkhize said they were left a little perplexed by further terms and conditions imposed by Johnson & Johnson for access to more doses.

“We have, unfortunately, now received a formal email from J&J advising us that they will not sign off the 20 million doses until they get a letter from minister of trade and industry and competition, which expresses support for local investment that they made in Aspen. We have been taken aback by this as there are clauses in the agreement that express this support and acknowledge that this production will not just be limited to South Africa and the continent and also targeted for the global markets.”

Mkhize has also revealed the country will be receiving 10 million more doses from Pfizer to be rolled out in May.

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