South Africa will soon resume the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccination drive, the country’s Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has said.
The COVID-19 vaccine’s rollout was temporarily halted after reports in the United States indicated some J&J recipients developed rare blood clots after receiving the vaccine.
The South African Health Products Regulatory Authority has recommended lifting the suspension on the Sisonke study but said there should be better screening and monitoring of participants at high risk of blood-clotting disorders. Said Mkhize:
We did pause the Johnson & Johnson trial… but we are going through it now. Some of you might already have seen the statement from SAHPRA (South African Health Products Regulatory Authority) indicating that they are feeling comfortable that we can proceed.
There is still a bit more consultation that we are still doing… committees, with the medical research council and we also have had a discussion with Johson & Johnson. As a company, we will be talking more with them soon, in the next couple of days.
We have consulted the WHO and the Africa Centre for Disease Control. We are quite comfortable that this matter is going to be resolved in such a way that in a few days time we should be able to indicate that the Johson & Johnson process will proceed.