Health activists have accused pharmaceutical manufacturers of holding the SA government to ransom over Covid-19 vaccine contracts, forcing it to pay a premium on the millions of doses it procured at the height of the pandemic while shielding themselves from potential lawsuits and penalties for late deliveries.

SA’s previously secret Covid-19 vaccine deals were released on Tuesday by the Health Justice Initiative (HJI) following a high court ruling in August ordering the department of health to provide the advocacy group with the contracts it signed with pharmaceutical manufacturers Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and the Serum Institute of India (SII), and the international vaccine sharing mechanism Covax...

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