Nehawu urges Sahpra to urgently probe safety of J&J vaccine after rollout halted

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize on Tuesday announced the temporary suspension of the rollout of the Johnson & Johnson vaccines following concerns over a rare blood clot reported in six people in the United States.

FILE: In this file photo taken on 5 March 2021 registered nurse Florisa N. Lingad holds a Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine at a vaccination center established at the Hilton Chicago O'Hare Airport Hotel in Chicago, Illinois. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - Nehawu is calling on the SA Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra) to urgently investigate the safety of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine so that South Africa could resume its inoculation drive, which was already behind.

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize on Tuesday announced the temporary suspension of the rollout of the Johnson & Johnson vaccines following concerns over a rare blood clot reported in six people in the United States.

So far over 290,000, healthcare workers had been vaccinated here in South Africa since the start of the government's clinical Sisonke trial in February.

Nehawu said that it hoped that the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccines expected in the country next month would be thoroughly checked for safety to avoid another abrupt disruption.

"We hope that government will ensure that the front workers who have already received it are monitored and we call on those front workers who have been inoculated with that vaccine to report any side effects or sickness they may think is associated with the vaccine," said spokesperson Khaya Xhaba.

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