J&J vaccine rollout to resume after temporary suspension

The cabinet announced today that the rollout of the COVID-19 Johnson & Johnson vaccine will resume after the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority recommended that it is safe to be administered. This follows the precautionary suspension of the rollout due to concerns over a very small number of patients in the US reporting adverse side effects leading to extremely rare blood clots after receiving the jab.
Speaking to the media to outline the outcomes from a meeting of Cabinet, Acting Minister in The Presidency, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said that the government is satisfied with the findings of the health authority, who determined that the J&J vaccine poses minimal risk to the public.
“The reviewed data had confirmed that South Africa had not experienced any rare blood clots with the already vaccinated healthcare workers (HCWs). Our scientists will continue to monitor all South Africans as and when they are vaccinated. Another reason for the temporary suspension was the decision by Johnson & Johnson to voluntarily suspend the rollout of their vaccine in the Eurozone” Ntshavheni said.
Ntshaveni said the temporary suspension was in line with government’s “commitment to ensure that comprehensive safety measures are undertaken regarding the vaccine rollout”.
The cabinet also welcomed the progress they have made in the signing of a new contract with J&J on the procurement of more vaccines for the full rollout programme. Beyond that, it has pledged to vaccinate fifteen million people with the Pfizer vaccine, with an addition 10 million doses heading to South Africa. This deal brings the total number of Pfizer doses to 30 million.
“This means South Africa will be able to vaccinate 15 million people with the Pfizer vaccine instead of just 10 million,” Ntshavheni said.
By mid-April 2021, 292 623 South African HCWs have been vaccinated under the Sisonke Vaccination Programme.

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