No need to ban Covid vaccines – court

No need to ban Covid vaccines – court. Picture: File

No need to ban Covid vaccines – court. Picture: File

Published Mar 6, 2024


An application for an order compelling various organs of state to cease making vaccinations against Covid-19 available was refused by the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria.

The application failed on various grounds, including a lack of sufficient evidence that the vaccines caused “strange” medical conditions.

The three non-profit organisations – Covid Care Alliance, Transformative Health Justice and Free the Children – Save the Nation – asked, among other things, for an order interdicting the government from urging South Africans to be vaccinated against Covid-19 and from distributing vaccines to vaccination centres.

The grounds for the application were that they, together with some doctors in South Africa, had tried to draw the attention of the government and health authorities to what they have labelled “strange and unusual medical conditions” which they had witnessed in patients who had been administered Covid-19 vaccines.

They argued that in general, there were otherwise healthy people who, after receiving the Covid-19 vaccines, experienced “unexplainable changes” to their blood cell structure or who had “unexplainable foreign substances” in their blood.

They said that the health of some children who had been vaccinated had been affected and that some of them had even died as a result of the vaccination.

The applicants said there was no “logic” in administering vaccines to children with or without pre-existing medical conditions where “damage to health is being witnessed in healthy people, young and old”.

The applicants argued that to safeguard the nation, it was imperative to apply a precautionary rule and stop the vaccine.

They relied on the evidence of several doctors who said they had seen “strange” conditions in some of their patients who had received the vaccine.

A KZN doctor said he started noticing an increase in the number of his patients with medical conditions that he could “not quite relate to as a medical doctor”. He witnessed symptoms which he had previously not seen in his 42 years of medical experience.

The doctor said he was not witnessing the same medical “complications”, or at least not of the same magnitude in unvaccinated patients.

The symptoms were described as “abnormal” flu-like symptoms and he contended that 70% of the patients who consulted him for various illnesses had either received vaccinations or were in close contact with people who had received vaccinations.

Other doctors called by the applicants also testified that they too, had seen “strange” symptoms in some of their vaccinated patients.

The South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (Saphra), one of the respondents, conceded that in general, evaluation of medicines for registration or approval took up to 20 months.

It said, however, that in response to the pandemic and in order to ensure that South Africa had all “weapons” available to fight the Covid19 pandemic, it introduced a “rolling review process”. That created a mechanism that facilitated the submission of data as it became available but it did not detract from the evaluation of the vaccines against the applicable standards of safety, quality and efficacy.

Saphra argued that its approach was supported by evidence from other regulatory authorities such as the World Health Organization, the European Medicines Agency and the US Food and Drug Administration.

Judge Norman Davis said it was accepted that there were people who had received vaccinations and experienced adverse health symptoms which they perceived were related to the vaccines but which had not been scientifically proved.

“Insofar as there had been ‘vaccine related’ deaths, these were in such a minuscule percentage of a total administered vaccine, that they can rightly be labelled ‘extremely rare’. It is clear from the bulk of evidence that the benefits of administering vaccines and obtaining community immunity by far outweigh those instances of adverse events,” the judge said.

He said the applicants did not have the right to prevent others who did not share their beliefs or opinions from being vaccinated.

Insofar as the applicants claimed that they had right to protect others, such as minors, it had not been established that the harm which the applicants aspired to prevent, existed. Even if it did exist in rare or exceptional cases, the benefit of vaccination far outweighed the harm.

Judge Davis said that should the applicants wish to have vaccinations deregistered and thereby prevent their use in the country, they had the alternate remedies available to them in terms of legislation.

In turning down the application, he said the usurping of the role of Saphra and the National Immunisation Safety Expert Committee would undermine their statutory obligations and cause the court to cross the line delineating the separation of powers.

Pretoria News