'Irreparable' Harm Done to African Covid-19 Vaccination Efforts
Health authorities in Africa say the U.S. health agency the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has done "irreparable" harm to their vaccination efforts. They say that the CDC's linking of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine with rare, but potentially fatal, side effects will spark widespread rejection of the vaccine on the continent, where other vaccines are mostly unavailable.
A statement from U.S. health agency the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended the Moderna and Pfizer Covid-19 vaccines over the J&J treatment, Darren Taylor of Voice of America reports.
The CDC statement featured an endorsement of messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines due to concerns that the J&J shot could, in rare cases, cause blood clots, or thrombosis. "This updated CDC recommendation follows similar recommendations from other countries, including Canada and the United Kingdom," the CDC said. Still, the CDC said "receiving any vaccine is better than being unvaccinated."
According to Mayo Clinic, the J&J shot incoporates an adenovirus vaccine, which is is a virus that has been altered so that it can't make you sick due to it lacking imp[ortant parts of the virus genome. It also cannot replicate, nor can it integrate into one's DNA. The J&J vaccine is one of the most widely used in Africa, because it's a single dose shot that doesn't require ultra-cold storage. The South African health department has reassured people that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is safe.
As of December 22, 2021, confirmed cases of Covid-19 from 55 African countries reached 9,257,141 while over 178,385,705 vaccinations have been administered across the continent.
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A pallet of Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine donated by the United States via Covax, a worldwide initiative aimed at equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines directed by the GAVI vaccine alliance, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, and the World Health Organization. (file photo).