South Africa: What's Next for the Johnson & Johnson Vaccine?

South African Minister of Health Zweli Mkhize receives the coronavirus vaccine at the Khayelitsha District Hospital, Western Cape on February 16, 2021.
analysis

Over the next few days, the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority, the South African Medical Research Council and the Department of Health will decide how to proceed with South Africa's vaccination roll-out after use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was suspended, pending an investigation into six cases of blood clots reported in the United States.

The next few days will be crucial in determining how South Africa continues with its Covid-19 vaccination roll-out.

What happened?

The Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in America suspended the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine "out of an abundance of caution" following six cases of women developing a rare condition causing blood clots in the brain, coupled with low platelets. The condition cannot be treated by normal blood thinners.

On Tuesday night, Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize announced that South Africa will also suspend use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, "hopefully only for a few days", while clarity was obtained about a possible link between the vaccine and the six cases. All six women received the J&J vaccine.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine, along with the Pfizer vaccine, will be rolled out in...

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