Health Department says it will implement an expanded and multi-pronged vaccination programme to reach as many people as possible.
THE APPROVAL of the CoronaVac vaccine by the SA Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra) has been welcomed by the national Department of Health.
The department said this presented a turning point and would bring much-needed relief for the country’s vaccination roll-out programme.
Sahpra at the weekend announced it had authorised the CoronaVac vaccine, manufactured by Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinovac Life Sciences Co and imported by Curanto Pharma with conditions.
In response to the announcement, the Health Department said it would implement an expanded and multi-pronged vaccination programme to reach as many people as possible.
“This will enable government to initiate procurement processes to secure more vaccine,” the department said in a statement.
The authorisation was based on the safety, quality and efficacy data submitted by Curanto Pharma to Sahpra between March 22 and June 22.
Sahpra chief executive Dr Boitumelo Semete-Makokotlela said: “Although the data submitted are considered acceptable at this point, the authorisation is subject to a number of conditions. Specifically, the applicant is required to submit the final results of ongoing clinical studies. Sahpra also took account of the World Health Organization (WHO) Emergency Use Listing (EUL) report on this vaccine.”
In addition, the conditions require the submission of periodic safety updates.
The EFF members who marched to the Sahpra offices in their thousands to call for the approval of CoronaVac and the Russian-produced Sputnik V vaccines also welcomed the move.
“The EFF welcomes the approval of the CoronaVac vaccine. If not for the noble efforts of the EFF, the entire nation would still be subjected to narrow and unscientific imperialism,” the party said in a statement.
They called for mass roll-out of CoronaVac jabs immediately.
Meanwhile, as Covid-19 case numbers in Africa climb faster than all earlier peaks, new variants, including the fast-spreading Delta, are fuelling the continent’s surging third wave.
According to WHO data, cases have increased in Africa for six weeks running and rose by 25% week-on-week to almost 202,000 in the week ending on June 27. Deaths rose by 15% across 38 African countries to nearly 3,000 in the same period.
With case numbers doubling in Africa every three weeks, the Delta variant has been reported in 16 countries, including nine with surging cases.
It is an estimated 30% to 60% more transmissible than other variants and is in three of the five countries reporting the highest case loads for the week ending June 27.
Delta is dominant in South Africa, which accounted for more than half of Africa’s cases in the same period.
According to the latest country reports, the Delta variant was detected in 97% of samples sequenced in Uganda and 79% of samples sequenced in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
In Uganda, 66% of severe illness in people younger than 45 years is attributed to the Delta variant.
“The speed and scale of Africa’s third wave is like nothing we’ve seen before. The rampant spread of more contagious variants pushes the threat to Africa up to a whole new level,” said WHO regional director for Africa Dr Matshidiso Moeti.