South Africa suspends use of Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine
South Africa suspends Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine after health concerns raised by the US Food and Drug Administration
South African Health Minister Zweli Mkhize on Tuesday said that the country will be suspending the use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine after health concerns raised by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
“We have determined to voluntarily suspend our rollout until the causal relationship between the development of clots and the Johnson and Johnson vaccine is sufficiently interrogated,” Mkhize said in a statement. “In the extremely unlikely event that Johnson and Johnson rollout is completely halted, we will not have any impediment to proceed with phase two of the rollout with Pfizer,” he added.
This comes after the US Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the FDA recommended a “pause” in the use of the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine “out of an abundance of caution” over six reported cases in the US of a “rare and severe” type of blood clot.
In a joint statement, the CDC and the FDA said they were investigating clots in six women in the days after vaccination, in combination with reduced platelet count. The six reported cases were among more than 6.8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine administered in the United States.
All six cases occurred among women ages of 18 and 48, and symptoms occurred 6 to 13 days after vaccination, according to Dr Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the CDC and Dr. Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research.
“CDC will convene a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) on Wednesday to further review these cases and assess their potential significance,” the statement said.
“FDA will review that analysis as it also investigates these cases. Until that process is complete, we are recommending a pause in the use of this vaccine out of an abundance of caution. This is important, in part, to ensure that the health care provider community is aware of the potential for these adverse events and can plan for proper recognition and management due to the unique treatment required with this type of blood clot,” it added.
On February 27, The FDA issued Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.
As of Tuesday, the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in South Africa is 15,59,960 while the total number of deaths is 53,423.