South Africa

SA opts to voluntary suspend roll out of J&J vaccines

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize announced that South Africa has taken the decision to voluntarily suspend the rollout of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine.

The announcement comes after US health authorities advised on the temporary suspension of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the United States amid blood clot fears.

Mkhize said on Tuesday that there had not been any reports of blood clots that have formed after the vaccination with the J&J vaccine in South Africa.

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.

South Africa has procured 31 million of the J&J one-dose vaccine.

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 Johnson & Johnson 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.

He said he hoped that more information will come to the fore in the next few days. He added that research will be conducted into whether those affected had underlying issues or environmental issues.

Acting US Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Janet Woodcock said the agency expected the pause to be a matter of days, and was aimed at providing information to healthcare providers on how to diagnose and treat the clots.

Johnson & Johnson also said in a statement that it would delay the rollout of the vaccine in Europe.

“We are aware of an extremely rare disorder involving people with blood clots in combination with low platelets in a small number of individuals who have received our Covid-19 vaccine.”


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