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Covid-19 vaccine tax? 'Govt needs to tell the nation what the funding model is'

18 January 2021 1:54 PM
Tags:
COVID-19
COVID-19 vaccine

Human rights lawyer at Health Justice Initiative Fatima Hassan says the minister needs to answer questions from citizens.

An article in the Business Day reported that the National Treasury is considering taxing citizens for the Covid-19 vaccine programme.

Head and human rights lawyer at Health Justice Initiative (HJI) Fatima Hassan talks to Lester Kiewit about the proposed tax.

I think what is important is that the article mentioned says the National Treasury is looking at potentially a mechanism of increasing taxes to pay for it, or dealing with government budget deficit, or reprioritising existing government spending - so it is really unclear what the financing model is at this stage.

Fatima Hassan, Head - Health Justice Initiative

She says it also depends on the numbers needed to achieve population immunity and the different efficacies of the various vaccines.

The number could be 40 million or it could be 50 million depending on the percentage of the population you need to vaccinate to get that herd immunity with the different vaccines.

Fatima Hassan, Head - Health Justice Initiative

Medical schemes have made commitments to cover the cost for members and those who are not members, but Hassan says there are many numbers being bandied about.

She says there is so much differing information on how the vaccine programme will be funded.

Understanding the contribution of the medical scheme sector, governemnt, business or private sector.

And then alongside that, we have this parallel structure called the Solidarity Fund.

Fatima Hassan, Head - Health Justice Initiative

This is why as civil society we have been saying that we can't wait until February. It is really urgent and the National Treasury has to have a briefing to the nation so that the minister can take questions and answers.

Fatima Hassan, Head - Health Justice Initiative

She says the myriad stream of different pieces of information is confusing and results in no one knowing the truth about the financing model of the vaccine programme.

Listen to the interview below:




18 January 2021 1:54 PM
Tags:
COVID-19
COVID-19 vaccine

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