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Timeline of key South Africa COVID-19 related developments and Health Justice Initiative’s engagement with government on vaccine access for South Africa

This Vaccine Access timeline has been compiled by the Health Justice Initiative (HJI) with information currently in the public domain and contains approximate dates in some cases, references to public documents, media statements as well as declarations under oath (court papers). It contains certain, but not all key dates related to major international and local developments. It is not meant to be a comprehensive timeline of all of the global or local set of events related to Covid-19. It is however intended to illustrate the global and local context against which the HJI has sought to obtain information and answers to the pressing issue of timely vaccine access for all people in South Africa.

Note: Since the HJI’s launch in mid-2020, we have intervened as a friend of the court with Open Secrets (amicus) in two pandemic ‘price gouging’ matters in the Competition Appeal Court (Dischem/Babelegi); and referred a pricing inquiry with Ezintsha at WITS University on certain available treatments for severe cases of Covid-19 to the Competition Commission.

More information about these other matters is available at Health Justice Initiative.

For any material omissions or errors regarding this timeline, please notify us by email: [email protected]

Updated on 21 Feb


Other resources:

Médecins Sans Frontières
Public Citizen
O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law
The People’s Vaccine
Global Justice Now
Free the Vaccine
Amnesty International
Health GAP
Third World Network
South Centre




  • 4 April 2022


    • The declaration of the National State of Disaster was issued on 15 March 2020 under South Africa’s Disaster Management Act. 
    • For 750 days, South Africa has been in a ‘National State of Disaster’. At midnight on 4 April 2022 the declaration was lifted.
      • Statement by President Cyril Ramaphosa on the termination of the National State of Disaster in response to the Covid-19 pandemic: Reference

    According to the Statement by President Cyril Ramaphosa:

    • From midnight 4 March 2022, the COVID-19 pandemic in South Africa will be managed in terms of the National Health Act – for which draft Health Regulations have been published for public comment (until 16 April 2022)  (See link here for more information. 
    • Because the Disaster Management Act provides that certain elements of the regulations may remain in place for a limited period for ‘post-disaster recovery and rehabilitation’, ‘some transitional provisions will remain in place for a period of 30 days after the termination of the National State of Disaster to ensure essential public health precautions and other necessary services are not interrupted while the new regulations in terms of the National Health Act come into effect’ (related to inter alia wearing of face masks, gathering limits, travel entry requirements, social relief grants).
    • The President also stated that ‘one last measure’ will continue despite the lifting of the State of Disaster: The COVID-19 Vaccine Injury No-Fault Compensation Scheme, will continue after the National State of Disaster ends and only terminated ‘once it has achieved its purpose’. This ‘purpose’ has not been explained.
    • The HJI has made a previous submission on the compensation scheme, available here.