South Africa will use the Johnson and Johnson vaccine in its phase 1 roll-out. This was confirmed earlier on Wednesday morning by Health Minister Zweli Mkhize.
Mkhize, who was speaking during a televised public briefing, said the Department of Health will continue with the planned phase 1 vaccination using the Johnson & Johnson vaccine instead of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been proven effective against the 501Y.V2 variant and the necessary approval processes for use in South Africa are underway. The roll-out of vaccination will proceed in the form of an implementation study with the partnership of the Medical Research Council and the National Department of Health vaccination sites across the country,” he said.
The country put on hold the use of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 shot in its vaccination programme after data showed it gave minimal protection against mild-to-moderate infection caused by the country’s dominant coronavirus variant.
Mkhize said: “Before the efficacy results, SA could not delay receipt of the vaccine batches to await the results of the efficacy studies by our scientists, as this would have relegated the country to the back of the line for vaccines due to global shortage of supplies.”
The minister also addressed concerns about the expiry date of the received AstraZeneca vaccine batch.
“The vaccines have not expired. In addition, in keeping with the original vaccination plan, if the Department of Health were to proceed with the AstraZeneca vaccine roll-out, the doses would be used up by the expiry date,” he said.
Mkhize also mentioned that they were in advanced stages of evaluating and engaging the manufacturers of the Sputnik -V candidate.
Engagements with Sinopharm also continue with an offer made by China currently being considered. Meanwhile, we wish to remind fellow citizens that the mainstay of preventing Covid-19, until the country reaches population immunity,” he said.
In other news – Sdumo Mtshali aka Sbusiso Ndlovu bids farewell to his character on Isibaya
As Isibaya comes to an end, Sdumo Mtshali penned a beautiful goodbye to his character Sibusiso Ndlovu – The actor thanked the fans and the production team for letting him play such a versatile character of the last eight years.
Sdumo said that playing Sibusiso has left a legacy in his career that he will treasure forever. Learn more