South Africa: Vaccine Trial Leaders Dismiss Top Adviser's Claims They Could Have Secured SA Access

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Researchers could have secured access to Covid-19 vaccine supplies when they agreed to conduct local clinical trials, SA's top vaccine adviser Professor Barry Schoub has argued. Trial leaders have dismissed the claims and called on stakeholders to stop shifting blame and develop realistic vaccination plans.

The chairperson of the ministerial advisory committee (MAC) on Covid-19 vaccines, Professor Barry Schoub, has claimed researchers missed the opportunity to leverage the country's participation in clinical trials to secure access to vaccines once they became available.

Schoub made the comments during an interview with Judge Dennis Davis, published on Wednesday, while the state faces criticism for failing to conclude any bilateral agreements with vaccine manufacturers.

He said the country's ability to access vaccines went wrong when leaders of clinical trials did not insist that manufacturers are contractually obliged to supply their products to South Africa.

"It should have been a commitment as part of their arrangement. We didn't do that. We could have had Johnson & Johnson. We could have had AstraZeneca and to some extent also Pfizer because they were trialled here," said Schoub.

Clinical trials were conducted in South Africa for the Oxford-AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer-BioNTech and Novavax vaccines. The efficacy...

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