A South African health official has recommended the resumption of the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine, a few days after the country followed the US and first to assess the risk of bleeding once it struck.
The upgrade should be based on “rigorous screening and screening of participants at high risk of blood disease”, as well as on new vaccination programs, the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority said this week. Ethical committees must also provide approval before the country begins.
The J&J vaccine is the only one that has spread to South Africa, until the country suspended it on Tuesday, threatening to vaccinate Africa’s largest corporate economy.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommended a permanent suspension after six cases of abnormal blood transfusions and approximately 7m were filed in the U.S.. The use of the J&J vaccine in the US is still the same as experts said this week that they need enough evidence to change their minds.
No blood transfusions have been recorded among the nearly 300,000 health workers who have been vaccinated in South Africa before being suspended.
“It is therefore important to recognize this seriousness because management differs from the traditional approach to treatment, and these serious complications can be alleviated with immediate and effective treatment,” the South African Medical Research Institute said this week.
The government of President Cyril Ramaphosa has been forced to speed up the lazy vaccine even before the US disrupts his plans.
South Africa has filed more than 1.5m cases so far, the country most affected by the epidemic, especially after the second wave hit the New Year. Daily accountability of new cases has dropped slightly but the third wave is more feared to be coming to an end.
South Africa has moved to J&J at the end of February, following an initial Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine with evidence that it has failed to protect itself from deadly diseases in the wake of major changes in the country.
South Africa’s J&J vaccine supplier is declining so far because the initial outreach among health workers took the form of research rather than just marketing.
Major shipments from J&J are due from the end of this month and will be used in the second phase of the launch, prioritizing the elderly and vulnerable in South Africa.
The Ramaphosa government has ordered the shooting of 31m J&J and 30m of Pfizer vaccine to achieve its goal of vaccinating 40m people. Online enrollment for those aged 60 or over began on Friday.
This week the main opposition Democratic Alliance party said that unlike South Africa, the US had a “chance” to stop the J&J vaccine because millions of Americans have already received shots made by drug manufacturers.
“Reducing single vaccination does not affect the impact on South Africa, as we currently have only one small vaccine,” the party said.