The demand is contained in a March 24 letter from South Africa’s Health Minister Zweli Mkhize to his finance counterpart Tito Mboweni, seen by Bloomberg and confirmed by the National Treasury. Pfizer was not satisfied by assurances that the signature of the country’s health director general was sufficient to guarantee the indemnity, Mkhize said.
The demand threatens to further delay the roll out of South Africa’s vaccine program, which is lagging behind that of emerging market peers and a number of African countries, and heightens pressure on the government. The agreement is for the supply of 20 million doses of the vaccine made by Pfizer and BioNTech SE.
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