JOHANNESBURG (AP) – South Africa has relaunched the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to health workers after a two-week hiatus using the only COVID-19 vaccine in the country.
South Africa resumed vaccination of 1.2 million health workers with the J&J vaccine on Wednesday.
South Africa stopped using the J&J vaccine on April 13 after the US Food and Drug Administration said it could be linked to a rare blood clot. The country’s drug regulator has ruled that the vaccine is safe, and the government has approved the resumption of its use.
Prior to the shutdown, South Africa fired more than 290,000 shots at health workers with the J&J vaccine, and Health Minister Eli Veli Mkhize urged all health workers to get the shots.
“It’s better to have the vaccine և John onson than to avoid taking it for fear of getting a blood clot,” Mkhise said in a statement, adding that “there is a one in one million chance of getting blood isolation from son onson.” & Johnson Vaccine “About 7 million people in the United States have now received the Son Onson և John Onson vaccine CO protected from COVID-19.”
The J&J vaccine is the best vaccine against the prevalent COVID-19 variant in South Africa, Mkhize said.
The South African health regulator has advised against returning to the J&J vaccine, saying it has no causal link between those already vaccinated with the “J&J vaccine”.
With the resumption, the government has increased the number of sites where the pores will be provided to health care workers, and now the country has enough quotas, Mkhize said. In his statement, South Africa will strengthen “the screening and monitoring of participants at high risk for blood clotting disorders.”
South Africa has the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 deaths in Africa. More than 1.5 million cases, including 54,237 deaths in South Africa account for more than 30% of the 4.5 million cases in Africa; more than 40% of the 120,802 deaths reported by 54 countries on the continent, according to the African Disease Control և Prevention Center. ,
As it resumes vaccination of health workers, South Africa is set to launch a mass vaccine trial on May 17, starting at age 60, Mkhize said. More than 3,300 vaccination sites are being set up across the country.
He said South Africa plans to vaccinate about 40 million of its 60 million people by February next year.
South Africa has ordered 31 million doses of the J&J vaccine, most of which will be manufactured in South Africa at the Aspen Pharmacare plant in Gքberha, formerly known as Port Elizabeth. The plant will receive a large batch of vaccine components, mix them, place them in individual vials, and package them, a process known as “fill in and finish.” The plant in South Africa can produce up to 300 million doses of J&J vaccines a year.
South Africa has also insured 30 million doses of Pfizer vaccine for its vaccination campaign, of which about 1 million are expected to be delivered to South Africa by May 17, Mkhize said. Pfizer vaccines will be used in major cities of the country, which have appropriate refrigerators և logistics to import two-dose vaccines. J&J vaccines, which can be stored in regular refrigerators, are disposable vaccines that will be used in rural South Africa, Mkhize said.
South Africa is the worst-hit country in Africa, with more than 1.5 million infections and more than 53,000 deaths.