Pfizer and Merck Might Give Covid19 Pills to SA, Talks Underway Says Health Department

Pfizer and Merck Might Give Covid19 Pills to SA, Talks Underway Says Health Department

  • The Department of Health is talking to Pfizer and Merck about the possibility of manufacturing their Covid-19 treatment pills in South Africa
  • Pfizer's pill is beneficial for adults who are at risk of developing severe Covid-19 symptoms and can be used to ease their experience if they are infected
  • South Africans have expressed their confusion as many are not sure if the pill is a treatment or a replacement for the vaccine

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PRETORIA - The Department of Health's deputy director-general, Nicholas Crisp, has announced that the department is holding discussions with Covid-19 pill manufacturers, including Pfizer and Merck, about potentially producing the treatment in South Africa.

South Africa is the leading country in Africa for Covid-19 infections, with just under 90 000 related deaths and nearly three million cases. The new Omicron variant has started a fourth wave in the country.

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Vaccine mandate causes South Africans to get the jab, Gauteng residents fear Omicron pandemic

Crisp said that the National Essential Medicines List Committee is deciding what the pills' economic value will be and if they will be effective in South Africa, News24 reports.

Pfizer, Merck, COVID-19, Covid-19 pills, vaccine alternatives, South Africa, Department of Health, Nicholas Crisp
The Department of Health is talking to Pfizer and Merck about Covid-19 pills in South Africa. Image: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

How the pill treats Covid-19 patients and its efficacy

Pfizer has produced a pill called Paxlovid which can be used to treat people who are infected with Covid-19. Merck Sharp and Dohme have created a similar pill, that is approved by the medicines regulator in the United Kingdom.

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Paxlovid is intended for people who have comorbidities, which increases their risk of experiencing severe Covid-19 symptoms. They are supposed to begin taking the pill twice a day as soon as regular symptoms of the virus appear. The course is five days long.

According to BBC News, Paxlovid will decrease adult Covid-19 patients' risk of death or need for hospitalisation by 89%. Pfizer plans to apply for FDA approval of the drug so that it can be distributed internationally.

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Reactions to Covid-19 treatment pills in South Africa

@jerryktsem said:

"Make it fast."

@ItsRadebe shared:

"Once there's treatment, will vaccine be necessary?"

@Michydb1003 believes:

"Of course they are in talks because they are being paid by Pfizer. Follow the money."

@MickzDF_ said:

"Send me my box."

@MSehlahla shared:

"I am not saying I approve but pills are much better than shots."

Vaccine mandate has no legal problems

Earlier, Briefly News reported that President Ramaphosa's vaccine mandate task team is working to decide how the policy must be implemented. Various organisations and individuals have publicly declared that they will bring legal action against the government if the vaccine mandate is instituted.

Mike Evans, a public lawyer who advised the government on lockdown restrictions, said that legal challenges to the vaccine mandate will probably be unsuccessful. However, a number of organisations, including the ACDP and AfriForum, are determined to pursue legal action.

Certain workplaces have adopted policies for their offices and premises, saying that only vaccinated employees and clients will be granted access. Labour law experts say that these policies are crucial in protecting people from contracting Covid-19 at work.

Source: Briefly News

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