By Kaya 959 News
South Africa is set to resume its COVID-19 vaccination programme. On Thursday, Acting Minister in the Presidency, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, said the temporary suspension would be lifted however the official resumption date will be announced by the Health Department, Dr Zweli Mkhize.
Cabinet was briefed on the temporary suspension of the Johnson & Johnson Sisonke Vaccination Programme, which was a precautionary measure that allowed South Africa’s scientists to review the South African data on the J&J vaccine.
This followed the suspension of the J&J vaccination roll-out programme in the United States of America after six people who received the J&J vaccine developed a rare type of blood clot.
Another reason for the temporary suspension was the decision by J&J to voluntarily suspend the roll-out of their vaccine in the Eurozone.
SA scientists monitor vaccine process
Ntshavheni said the temporary suspension in South Africa was in line with the government’s commitment to ensure that comprehensive safety measures are undertaken regarding the vaccine roll-out.
“The reviewed data had confirmed that South Africa had not experienced any rare blood clots with the already vaccinated healthcare workers. Cabinet welcomed the recommendation by the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority to lift the suspension of the J&J Sisonke Vaccination Programme.
“Our scientists will continue to monitor all South Africans as and when they are vaccinated. By mid-April 2021, more than 292 623 HCWs had been vaccinated under the Sisonke Vaccination Programme,” she said.
Women developed unusual blood clots
Earlier this month, Mkhize, announced the temporary suspension after six women reported issues with blood clotting. According to reports, one woman has since died. Mkhize said the women developed unusual blood clots with low platelets. These incidents occurred between 6 and 13 days after vaccination in women between the ages of 18 and 48 years old.
He said in SA, the Department had not received any reports of clots forming after a person was vaccinated. The roll out was voluntarily suspended based on advice from the Food and Drug Administration.
Following Mkhize’s announcement, the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority advised the government to lift the suspension. SAHPRA further issued conditions that needed to be adhered to with the resumption of the roll out.
“These conditions include, but are not limited to, strengthened screening and monitoring of participants who are at high risk of a blood clotting disorder. In addition, measures are to be implemented to ensure the safe management of any participants who develop vaccine-induced thrombosis and thrombocytopenia,” the regulatory body said.
It is not yet clear when Mkhize will make his official announcement.
Meanwhile, Cabinet has welcomed the progress in the signing of the contract with J&J on the procurement of J&J vaccines for the full roll-out programme.
Cabinet also welcomed the successful negotiation of an additional 10 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine, which brings the total doses of the Pfizer vaccine to 30 million.
This means South Africa will be able to vaccinate 15 million people with the Pfizer vaccine instead of just 10 million. SA has a total of 1 571 348 confirmed Covid-19 cases with a death toll of 53 995 and 1 496 756 recoveries.