New COVID-19 Vaccine to Arrive in SA Today

Written by on 16 February, 2021

The South African Medical Association (SAMA) has confirmed that 80 000 Johnson & Johnson (J&J) doses will touch down at OR Tambo International Airport today and be distributed to 16 sites across the country where healthcare workers will be vaccinated.

This marks the start of South Africa’s new, adjusted vaccine roll-out plan where jabs will be given as part of an implementation study conducted by the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) and the national department of health.

Earlier this month, the health department revealed that the 1 million AstraZeneca doses have an expiry date of April this year, and indications that the vaccine has 22% efficacy in preventing mild to moderate cases of the new variant in SA.

This led to a temporary halt in the roll-out of the AstraZeneca jabs by government.

Half a million Johnson & Johnson vaccines will arrive in South Africa by April. In total, three batches of 80 000 Johnson & Johnson jabs will arrive in the country every two weeks, followed by one batch of 60 000.

According to the Bhekisisa Centre for Health Journalism, the J&J vaccine is the only jab, at least so far, for which they have clinical trial data on the kind of protection it provides against severe COVID-19 disease caused by the new variant, 501Y.V2.

Johnson & Johnson tested their vaccine in eight countries, the United States, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru and South Africa, and 15%, or 6 567 of the study’s 43 783 participants, were from South Africa.

The study showed that the jab was 85% effective in preventing severe disease in people who were 18 years and older in all the countries that were studied.

Co-Principal investigator of the Johnson & Johnson study, Linda-Gail Bekker, says if all goes well the first phase of the vaccine rollout will begin tomorrow, Wednesday, and frontline healthcare workers are to be vaccinated.

Gagasi FM

What You Want to Hear