SOUTH AFRICA will suspend the roll out of the J&J Covid-19 vaccines with immediate effect.
This follows the startling discovery that blood clots were found in the United States.
Confirming the disturbing news, minister of health Dr Zweli Mkhize, said the J&J vaccines will be stopped temporarily in SA due to blood clots discovered in the US.
US Food and Drug Administration advised a temporarily suspension of its rollout of the J&J vaccine after six women developed “unusual blood clots” within two weeks of receiving the shot.
“As a result there will be no inoculation especially to frontline workers,” said the minister, during the press brief this evening.
“We cannot take the decision of the FDA lightly. We’ve voluntarily suspend the rollout until the causal relationship between the blood clot and the vaccine is sufficiently interrogated,” he said.
Dr Mkhize says he hoped this would be done within “a few days” and pointed out that the contract with J&J still stands.
According to the South African Sisonke study, these side effects (muscle pain and nausea) have been noted in SA.
Irritated and worried Professor Barry Jacobson, from SA Society of Thrombosis & Haemostasis – says stopping the vaccines will be devastating, especially for frontline workers, who are in the coalface.
“This will further discourage the citizens not to vaccinate anytime soon and this will be very devastating,” says Jacobson, who admitted he and staff have been vaccinated.
The announcement delays an already sluggish vaccination campaign in Africa’s worst-hit country, which has so far only administered the US-made jab.
South Africa has vaccinated just under 290,000 health workers since February 17.
The second phase of the country’s rollout plan, which will target essential workers and over-60s, is scheduled to begin on May 17.
Authorities had already been forced to scrap plans to start vaccinating with the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab after a study suggested the formula was less effective against a dominant local virus strain.
So far South Africa has secured 31-million doses from J&J and 30-million from Pfizer, which are yet to be delivered.
Another 1.2-million doses will be donated by the international vaccine sharing facility Covax, and an undisclosed amount from the African Union.
Its unknown if already available vaccines will be used for inoculation.