J&J vaccine rollout to resume today

The rest of South Africa’s 500,000 health workers can now get their Covid-19 vaccinations.

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has announced that the Sisonke Covid-19 vaccine trial of health workers will start again today, while the sites offering vaccinations will be expanded from 18 to 95.

The SA Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) has declared the J&J vaccine safe and has given the go ahead to start using it again after a temporary pause in the trial, but has added new conditions to the rollout.

SAHPRA wants health workers to be informed of the risk of blood clots and screened for a previous history of clots.

Almost 300,000 health workers received the vaccine before the pause and no cases of blood clots have been reported.

The vaccination of the next cohort of citizens is set to start in the middle of May. Half a million people over 60 have already registered on the electronic database to receive their vaccines.

The minister also said on Monday he was “thrilled” to announce that the first 1.1-million doses of the J&J vaccines were ready for dispatch from Aspen’s Gqeberha plant, where they were being packaged.

Once quality assurance processes had been completed by the SA National Control Laboratory for Biological Products, the vaccines would be dispatched to 900 distribution sites across South Africa.