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19 November 2020

Stakeholders to discuss the implications for an international COVID-19 Vaccine Policy

Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)
Press Release

Pretoria, Thursday 19 November 2020 – As the race to find a safe and effective vaccine for the COVID-19 intensifies and promising candidates being announced, the Human Sciences Research Council’s (HSRC) Africa Institute of South Africa (AISA) and Nabio Consulting will host a dialogue on the implications for an international COVID-19 Vaccine Policy on Friday 20 November 2020 at 11h00.
The webinar will explore possible challenges and constraints towards COVID-19 bio-inventions and vaccination as well as the bottlenecks in regulatory framework for COVID-19 vaccine research and development in South Africa.

The programme and speaker bios are available for download below:

The topics of discussions will include:
•    Whether a vaccine should be compulsory and, if not, what that means for those who are anti-vaccines
•    Historical challenge with access to vaccines – perspectives from pharmaceutical and health professionals
•    Regulatory framework challenges for research and development and country vaccinology
•    WHO-Afro Vaccine roll-out/distribution strategy – country or regional perspectives

Since the search for an effective vaccine began in several research centres around the world, a number of countries have reported progress to the World Health Organization (WHO).

According to the HSRC’s Dr Palesa Sekhejane, “while there have been various promises and claims of success, with some countries being more protective of their innovations, multiple strategies of manufacturing and administrating vaccines are being developed to ensure safety and accessibility.”  

“South Africa and India have called for the global review of patent policies. In the process of discovering potential vaccines, securing trial participants poses a great challenge due to historical malpractice on subjects, indicating possible vaccine hesitancy,” says Dr Sekhejane.

A study conducted in Indonesia indicated that there is a high likelihood that the public would accept a vaccine proved to be at least 95% effective, whereas in Pakistan high hesitance potential was reported.

Dr Sekhejane adds that to safeguard themselves, several countries are contributing towards COVAX – a platform to accelerate equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines.

“This happens in the midst of uncertainty on the acceptance of vaccines that are likely to be discovered. In this regard, it is important to ensure that the conduct of countries and those who stand to benefit from the discovery of vaccine do not disadvantage efforts so far provided to fight the pandemic.

“Clear COVID 19 vaccine policy is imperative to ensure vaccine acceptance, a safe regulatory environment, and sustained research and development as a way of combating Covid-19,” says Dr Sekhejane.

Speakers include Dr Rajesh Narwal (WHO-Afro), Ms Khadija Jamaloodien (NDoH), Dr Boitumelo Semete (SAHPRA), Dr Janet Byaruhanga (AUDA-NEPAD), Ms Glaudina Loots (DSI), Dr Vuyo Mjimba (AISA), Dr Dudu Ndwandwe (SAMRC), Dr Lusisiziwe Kwezi (CSIR), Dr Stavros Nicolaou (Aspen), Mr Rhulani Nhlaniki (Pfizer), Prof Oyewale Tomori (RCPath-UK), Ms Safura Abdool Karim (SAMRC-PRICELESS), Prof Jeffrey Mphahlele (SAMRC) and Prof Crain Soudien (HSRC).

This webinar can be accessed via the Zoom link: Please download Zoom and register beforehand.

Livestream via

Details of the Webinar
Date:        20 November 2020
Time:        11h00 to 13h50
Zoom Link:

For more information or to set up interviews, please contact Adziliwi Nematandani, 0827659191, email:

Notes to the Editor

The HSRC was established in 1968 as South Africa’s statutory research agency and has grown to become the largest dedicated research institute in the social sciences and humanities on the African continent, doing cutting-edge public research in areas that are crucial to development.

Our mandate is to inform the effective formulation and monitoring of government policy; to evaluate policy implementation; to stimulate public debate through the effective dissemination of research-based data and fact-based research results; to foster research collaboration; and to help build research capacity and infrastructure for the human sciences.

The Council conducts large-scale, policy-relevant, social-scientific research for public sector users, non-governmental organizations and international development agencies. Research activities and structures are closely aligned with South Africa’s national development priorities.

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