Pfizer backs down over “unreasonable” terms in South Africa vaccine deal

20th April 2021

SMB client The Bureau of Investigative Journalism has broken the story on Pfizer backing down on its demand that the South African government put up sovereign assets guaranteeing an indemnity against the cost of any future legal cases in return for supplies of the Pfizer vaccine. This is particularly concerning, as they have been seeking to include similar clauses in their negotiations not only with South Africa, but in countries in Latin America.

In its negotiations to provide vaccines to countries around the world, Pfizer has been asking governments to put up state owned assets as security for wide-ranging indemnity protection against any civil claims that citizens might file if they experience severe side effects from a dose of their vaccine.

This means that if Pfizer was to be sued by someone who had suffered a rare adverse effect from the vaccine then the government, not the company, would have to pay for legal costs and compensation. This would apply even if the case had been brought as a result of the company’s own acts of negligence, fraud or malice.

Stephen Shotnes supported the TBIJ on this report.