The future of the vaccine rollout has been raising eyebrows since the recent suspension of the Johnson&Johnson vaccine.
Health Minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize has confirmed that the rollout is back on track. This follows a recommendation from the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA).
“We’re looking forward to making up for the lost time by completing this programme in the shortest possible time,” he said.
The vaccine rollout was put on hold after the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found blood clots in 6 patients who had been vaccinated with the Johnson&Johnson vaccine.
The suspension of the vaccine has since been lifted in America, however, SAHPRA has warned against pregnant and lactating women being administered the vaccine.
“It has since been established there is a one in a million chance of getting the clot after the vaccine, and that it appears that women between the ages of 18 and 48 years old are particularly at risk. With such a low probability of developing a clot, all the regulators across the world have recommended the continued use of Johnson and Johnson,” said Mkhize
Government will be adding 95 vaccination sites across the country. Healthcare workers will continue to be vaccinated through the Sisonke Protocol.
Healthcare workers have been encouraged to sign up on the Vaccine Portal vaccine.enroll.health.gov.za in order to be vaccinated.
“Despite the unforeseen interruption to our programme, the 95 sites will be published in the next issue of the I Choose Vaccination bulletin and on the Health and SA Coronavirus website,” said Mkhize..
The Minister also added that all participants of the Sisonke programme should be informed of all potential risks before proceeding with the trial.
“Having said all this, I wish to reassure you all, fellow South Africans, that it is much better to have the vaccine than to avoid taking it for fear of getting a blood clot. In fact, there are many… more cases of blood clots related to the Coronavirus itself, than the one in a million chance of getting a blood clot from the Johnson and Johnson vaccine,” the Minister said.