Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize will make an announcement at 7pm on SA’s response after health authorities advised on the temporary suspension of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the US.
HEALTH Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize will make an announcement at 7pm on South Africa’s response after health authorities advised on the temporary suspension of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the United States.
South Africa has been administering the vaccine to more than 280,000 health workers as part of the Sisonke vaccine study which secured the early use of the vaccine in the country.
On Tuesday, the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a joint statement saying out of an “abundance of caution” that the issuing of the J&J jab should be paused over blood clot fears.
A senior scientist for the FDA told reporters that one US patient had died from blood clotting complications after receiving the J&J Covid vaccine while another is in critical condition.
Overall, six women aged between 18 to 48 developed a rare form of brain blood clotting with low blood platelets between six and 13 days after receiving the shot.
Highly placed sources claim that various vaccination points around South Africa have been informed to stop vaccination.
According to one source, a highly placed official from the Department of Health (DoH) informed their facility in Cape Town to stop vaccinations immediately.
“The DoH has just instructed all vaccination points to stop using J&J immediately,’ said the source.
Another source in Durban said that there were murmurs that the vaccination drive will be halted immediately.
“My understanding is that the department is engaging around the findings that have come out of the US today. This could be a massive setback to our vaccination drive,” said the source.
South Africa has ordered several million doses of the J&J vaccine after rejecting the AstraZeneca vaccine due to similar fears.
The latest development could deal a severe blow to South Africa’s lagging vaccination programme which has been criticised recently as being indecisive by experts.
– Additional reporting by AFP