The government says the rollout of the approved Johnson & Johnson (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine has been delayed due to challenges associated with the vaccine’s storage.
The Chief Coordinator of COVID-19 Response in the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC), Dr Agnes Mahomva, said that she was aware that some people are wondering when Zimbabwe will roll out J&J, but the challenges that have delayed the launch of Sputnik-V have also hampered the introduction of J&J. Said Mahomva:
Indeed, we have had several meetings with the Medicine Control Authority of Zimbabwe, the Ministry of Health and Child Care and others to look at how we can deploy the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
They looked at the science and they gave their reports on that. I know people always say, Oh the J&J has been given authorization, let’s use it tomorrow but on the ground, if you look at the details, you find that it has got so many issues and challenges.
When we sat with the Ministry of Health, we noted that we are struggling in terms of capacity to store and roll out the J&J vaccine.
You know we have got the Sputnik-V and we have just struggled to also roll that one out because it has similar requirements to the J&J.
The ministry has been focusing on trying to make sure that their capacity improves before we roll out the approved J&J so members of the public should understand that it is a work in progress.
Meanwhile, Mahomva said members of the public with old vaccination cards were also free to approach any health centre and get new ones as long as they have a copy of the old card.