South Africa: The Government Should Explain Plans in Wake of Johnson and Johnson Vaccine Setback

analysis

Johnson & Johnson jabs were central to plans to scale up South Africa's Covid-19 vaccination programme. With news that a first consignment of two million doses cannot be used, it is critical that the government play open cards with the public about its revised vaccination plans and timelines and what steps it is taking to procure more vaccines faster.

Covid-19 was high on President Cyril Ramaphosa's agenda at the just-completed G7 summit in Cornwall in the UK. As it should be. With a third wave of infections sweeping through a number of provinces, the country's vaccination rates are still disturbingly low. Ensuring that more people are vaccinated quicker should arguably be the President's top priority for at least the next six months.

South Africa is currently procuring two safe and highly effective vaccines for its Covid-19 vaccination programme - a two-dose vaccine made by Pfizer/BioNTech and a single-dose one from J&J. For now, though, it is only the Pfizer/BioNTech jab that is being administered.

This is not what was planned.

The envisaged scale-up of South Africa's vaccination programme in June was premised on the expectation that we would have at least two million doses of the J&J vaccine ready to...

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