Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

South Africa temporarily halts J&J vaccine rollout plan

Health minister Zweli Mkhize has called for calm as South Africa temporarily suspends its Covid-19 vaccine rollout plan for a second time due to rare but severe blood clots developing in six American women who received the Johnson and Johnson (J&) vaccine. 

The announcement follows the advice for temporary suspension of the J&J/Janssen Covid-19 vaccine by the United States Centres for Disease Control (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), made on Wednesday. 

“We have determined to voluntarily suspend our rollout until the causal relationship between the development of clots and the Johnson and Johnson (J&J) vaccine is sufficiently interrogated,” said Mkhize.

“In South Africa, we have not had any reports of clots that have formed after vaccination, and this is after having inoculated 289 787 health care workers under the Sisonke Protocol,” he said. 

A rare and severe type of blood clot was identified by the FDA in six US women between the ages of 18 and 48 after they received the J&J vaccine. Symptoms of the unique thrombus occurred six to 13 days after the vaccination was administered.

It is expected that the CDC will conduct a meeting with its advisory committee on Wednesday 14 April 2021 to further review the cases and assess their potential significance.

The South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) will collect information from Johnson & Johnson, the FDA and other regulatory bodies to make a thorough assessment of the current situation in the country. 

“We hope that the deliberations will only take a few days. Given the preliminary literature on hand, our scientists are confident that the FDA’s decision is on a precautionary basis and we expect that this will not result in the complete withdrawal of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine from the vaccination armament,” the health minister said.

In the “extremely unlikely event” that the J&J rollout was completely halted, “we will not have any impediment to proceed with phase two of the rollout with Pfizer”, he said. 

South Africa has managed to secure another 10-million doses of the Pfizer vaccine, bringing its total of that vaccine to 30-million. The first shipment of two million doses is expected in May. 

Mkhize said that as of Tuesday, the total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in South Africa stood at 1 559 960, the total number of deaths stood at 53 423, and the total number of recoveries was at 1 485 315. 

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

Eunice Stoltz
Eunice Stoltz is a junior daily news reporter at the Mail & Guardian. She was previously a freelance journalist and a broadcaster at Maroela Media and Smile90.4FM.

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Subscribers only

South Africa breaking more temperature records than expected

The country’s climate is becoming ‘more extreme’ as temperature records are broken

Environmental groups welcome China’s pledge on coal

Will China’s end of coal finance be the final nail in the coffin for MMESZ?

More top stories

South Africa breaking more temperature records than expected

The country’s climate is becoming ‘more extreme’ as temperature records are broken

Environmentalists are trying to save South Africa’s obscure endangered species

Scientists are digging for De Winton’s golden moles, working on the mystery of the riverine rabbit and using mesh mattresses to save the unique Knysna seahorse

Shadow states infest Africa’s democracies

Two recent reports show evidence that democracy in Africa is being threatened by private power networks

The West owes Africa $100bn (at least) for climate recovery

In fewer than three days, a US citizen emits as much carbon as a person from Chad or Niger does in one year. Such is the asymmetry in culpability for climate change.
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×