Covid-19 weekly roundup: Sahpra recommends pregnant women not to receive vaccine

By Kelly Jane Turner Time of article published Apr 26, 2021

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Pregnant and lactating women should be excluded from the Johnson & Johnson Sisonke vaccination programme at this stage, according to recommendations from the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra).

The Department of Health revealed this in a statement on Monday where it was also confirmed that the Sisonke study will resume on Wednesday.

The Medical Research Council and other scientific bodies, will engage Sahpra on this recommendation and scientists will be able to make the case for pregnant women to receive the Covid-19 vaccine.

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said that Sahpra may have elected to err on the side of caution.

Over the weekend, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended the Covid-19 vaccine for women who are pregnant.

Preliminary data suggested there is no evidence that the vaccine causes any form of concern for pregnant individuals or their babies.

The study published last week reported data from over 35,000 women in America who were either pregnant or soon to become pregnant.

Conditions for the continuation of the J&J rollout

The continuation of the rollout will come with a set of conditions by Sahpra, including intensified pre-vaccination assessment, post vaccination monitoring and a consent form for healthcare workers.

Earlier this month, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommended a pause on the issuing of the vaccine over potentially dangerous blood clotting concerns.

It was initially reported that six women developed a rare clot, called Vaccine Induced Thrombotic Thrombocytopenia. (VITT), however, two more have since been recorded.

Mkhize said they are aiming to conclude phase one of the rollout by the 16th of May and are committed to vaccinating as many of the 1,2 million health care workers as possible.

Fund gazetted to protect people injured during vaccination

A fund has been gazetted that will cover claims for people who have been injured during the administration of vaccines.

The Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma gazetted the No Fault Compensation Fund last week.

According to Mkhize, it's going to cost the government around R250 million in the first year.

The fund was set up after companies providing vaccines called for the establishment of the fund.

Vaccine injuries that will be covered under the scheme include severe injuries resulting in permanent or significant injury, serious harm to a person’s health, other damage or death.

If a person reports an injury, they will need to go to their nearest health facility or visit the Department of Health website, fill out a form and send it to an email address indicated on the form.

Independent committees will then evaluate their claims and will recommend the appropriate recourse and compensation.

Keep an eye out next week for another roundup of the top Covid-19 stories.

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