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Cabinet: Permission to be granted to import Chinese & Russian vaccines

The cabinet has announced that permission will be granted to import Chinese and Russian vaccines ahead of a decision on approving the use of the vaccines.

See relevant cabinet notes below:

  1. Four members of the Pharmaceutical Council were invited to Cabinet to secure an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA)  for two Chinese vaccines and the Russian vaccine — Sinopharm and Sinovac, and SputnikV, respectively. The Chairman of the Council addressed the Cabinet on the antiquated nature of the 1995 law which provides for the Council to either approve or disapprove the use of a particular drug; the law does not specifically provide for the EUA as requested by Cabinet, the Chairman asserted. Data on the three phases of trial of the vaccines had not been forthcoming; hence, the Council required data in order to properly provide an approval. 
  1. A debate followed in which it was agreed that the use of the vaccines could be separated from the importation of the vaccines. Permission to import would be provided, it was agreed, and after the data (in English) had been provided, permission to use would subsequently be granted.     
  2. The Council reported that it had received requests from private medical practitioners for licences to import the Covid-19 vaccines. The provision of licences to doctors to import was not the function of Council, it was asserted. The Council is empowered to provide licences to pharmacies and pharmacists for distribution to authorized dispensers. The doctors would then apply to those pharmacies for the imported supply which they required. 

The Cabinet recalled that the current conditions under the State of Emergency are scheduled to expire on March 15, 2021, or in five days. The executive body therefore took the decision to provide more space to certain businesses by altering the curfew hours. Beginning March 15, 2021, curfew would commence at 8:00 pm until 5:00 am. All other measures continue until April 15, 2021, when a review of circumstances will determine what changes could reasonably be implemented should the infection rate continue to decline. Masks are therefore to be worn when entering into a public space; social distancing of 3 feet to six feet will continue to be enforced; the sanitizing of hands is to continue by all persons upon entering into shops, businesses, churches and all government offices. Church services, funerals and weddings may not exceed 25 persons; and gatherings on the streets or in other public spaces cannot exceed 5 persons.

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