Cabinet welcomes SAHPRA recommendation to resume use of J&J vaccine

The rollout to healthcare workers as part of the Sisonke Vaccination Programme was suspended due to fears over rare cases of blood clots in recipients in the US.

FILE: At a post-Cabinet meeting briefing on Thursday, acting minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said the lifting of the suspension would be announced soon. Picture: 123rf.co.

CAPE TOWN - Cabinet has welcomed a recommendation by the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) to resume the use of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

The rollout to healthcare workers as part of the Sisonke Vaccination Programme was suspended due to fears over rare cases of blood clots in recipients in the US.

At a post-Cabinet meeting briefing on Thursday, acting minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said the lifting of the suspension would be announced soon.

Cabinet has held its first physical meeting since the introduction of the lockdown in March last year.

Among the topics on the agenda was a briefing on the temporary suspension of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine rollout to review data.

Ntshavheni said the latest development came as the country prepared to take delivery of one million more doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

She said the lifting of its rollout suspension would be officially announced by the Department of Health.

“In terms of the Sisonke vaccine commencement, the Department of Health will announce the commencement, but we are aware that we are receiving a dose of 1 million vaccines by Monday.”

Ntshavheni said scientists would continue to monitor all South Africans as and when they were vaccinated.

By mid-April, more than 292,000 healthcare workers had been vaccinated.

Ntshavheni said the temporary suspension of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was in line with government’s commitment to ensure comprehensive safety measures were undertaken.

She said Cabinet had welcomed a recommendation to lift the suspension and added the Aspen pharmaceutical plant in Gqeberha would be providing more doses on Monday.

Ntshavheni said reviewed data had confirmed there were no cases of rare blood clots in the more than 292,000 South African healthcare workers vaccinated since February.

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