SAHPRA approves use of China’s CoronaVac shots

The South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) on Saturday said it invoked Section 21 of the Medicines and Related Substances Act, which enables emergency use access to authorise the vaccines.

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JOHANNESBURG/CAPE TOWN - Sinovac’s CoronaVac COVID-19 vaccine has been given the greenlight in South Africa.

The South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) on Saturday said it invoked Section 21 of the Medicines and Related Substances Act, which enables emergency use access to authorise the vaccines.

CoronaVac is produced by Chinese company Sinovac Life Sciences Co and will be imported by Curanto Pharma.

The double dose vaccines are for active immunisation in people aged between 18 and 59 years old.

Last week, the Economic Freedom Fighters marched to SAHPRA offices in Pretoria calling on the body to approve the use of Sinovac and Russia-produced Sputnik vaccines.

The two vaccines used in the country’s vaccination programme so far are from Pfizer and Johnson and Johnson.

SAHPRA CEO Dr Boitumelo Semete-Makokotlela said: “The vaccine is administered as two doses of 0,5ml, given intramuscularly, with the second dose administered between 14 and 28 days after the first dose. A provisional shelf life of 24 months is approved for both the vial and prefilled syringe presentations of the product, for storage at 2 – 8°C and protected from light.”

SAHPRA said the approval of CoronaVac was subject to certain conditions – including that its manufacturers submit final results of ongoing clinical data.

The news comes just as the nation breached the two million-mark of positive COVID-19 cases as it braces for the worst of the third wave.

The CoronaVac vaccine is the latest addition to other products being used in the fight against the pandemic.

Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer vaccines are already being used to inoculate certain groups in society across the country.

The CoronaVac double dose shot will be administered to those between the ages of 18 and 59.

The second dose is set to be given 14 to 28 days following the first shot.

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