SOUTH AFRICA: South Africa has announced the temporary suspension of the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine rollout following the United States of America’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) decision to investigate the safety of the vaccine which is said to have side effects.
In a statement on Wednesday, the Minister of Health, Zweli Mkhize said the action is precautionary albeit with no reports of effects of the vaccine in the country.
“In South Africa, we have not had any reports of clots that have formed after vaccination, and this is after having inoculated 289 787 health care workers under the Sisonke Protocol”.
“Having said that, after this advisory came to my attention I held urgent consultations with our scientists, who have advised that we cannot take the decision made by the FDA lightly”, he said.
The advice came after 6 women were said to have reportedly developed blood clots after receiving the Johnson and Johnson jab between 6- 13 days.
He said that based on advice by scientists the country voluntarily suspends the rollout until the safety of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine is scientifically approved.
Minister Mkhize called for citizens to be patient with the development and assured them that in case Johnson and Johnson’s vaccine roll-out is halted the country has secured 30 million doses of Pfizer that will be rolled out in May.
“This also reassures us that, in the extremely unlikely event that Johnson and Johnson’s rollout is completely halted, we will not have any impediment to proceed with phase two of the rollout with Pfizer”.
” We, therefore, urge South Africans to be supportive of our experts and scientists as they work under enormous pressure to give us answers on this worrying development so that we may proceed safely with the global vaccination programme. We commit to keeping the public informed of all developments”, he said.