Sahpra denies Malema’s vaccine authorisation conflict of interest accusation
The EFF has called for Sahpra's Helen Rees to resign because of her husband’s alleged involvement with Aspen, which is a partner in the production of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at the Gqeberha plant.
JOHANNESBURG – The South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra) has denied claims that it's holding off on giving Russian and Chinese vaccines the green light because of a conflict of interest.
In a gathering criticised as a possible super-spreader event, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) supporters clad in red party regalia marched to the offices of the health products regulator to demand the approval of more vaccines.
The party threatened it would stage a sit-in at the home of the organisation's chairperson, Helen Rees if it did not approve the emergency use of the jabs within seven days.
The EFF also called for Rees’s resignation because of her husband’s alleged involvement with Aspen, which is a partner in the production of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at the Gqeberha plant.
The health regulator said it would timeously respond to the EFF’s memorandum of demands, and it assured the public that it does not favour any applicant as alleged by the party’s leader – Julius Malema.
This comes after Malema accused Sahpra’s chairperson of monopolising the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for personal gain.
The regulator however hit back calling the accusations unfounded.
It insisted that it would not allow political pressure to cloud its science-based approach to approving vaccines.
At the same time, the health ministry labelled the attacks by the eff on Sahpra leadership as disappointing and dangerous.
Spokesperson Hlengiwe Nhlabathi-Mokota said, “Our country’s regulatory system should not be forced to bow down to any amount of political pressure, especially to authorise the use of vaccines at a whim without due processes being followed.
The regulator said it's still assessing the efficacy of both the Chinese and Russian vaccines.