Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)
Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)

Healthcare workers urged to register for J&J vaccine programme as study resumes

By Rudolph Nkgadima Time of article published Apr 28, 2021

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Cape Town: SA healthcare workers are urged to register for the Johnson and Johnson Sisonke Programme to vaccinate healthcare workers, as the study resume today.

With almost 300 000 healthcare workers vaccinated so far, the study was temporarily paused two weeks ago after six American women suffered an extremely rare clotting disorder, after receiving the J&J vaccine.

"We are two weeks behind and we urge all our healthcare workers not yet registered to please register and this now includes their personnel like secretaries, like the staff working in surgeries so that phase 1B also can commence as quickly as possible,” said Dr Angelique Coetzee, chairperson of South African Medical Association (Sama).

The Western Cape Health Department has also advised healthcare workers in the province to give re-consent to participate in the Covid-19 trial vaccination programme.

Health department spokesperson Marika Champion said health workers who have a voucher but have not been vaccinated yet, will receive a SMS requesting them to read the new participant information and provide consent.

“We urge health workers who have not registered for the vaccine to please register as soon as possible. If they have not registered to be part of the Sisonke Programme, they will have to wait for their turn during Phase 2 and 3 roll-out.”

As a condition for resuming the Covid-19 vaccination trial programme, the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra) has added a requirement that all Sisonke participants need to be informed of the potential risk of the rare clotting disorder and therefore re-consent to participate.

Additional recommendations also include that pregnant and breastfeeding women should be excluded from the trial at this stage.

Prof Glenda Gray, co-principal investigator of the Sisonke implementation study, says they have also introduced enhanced screening processes.

“Vaccine recipients will be sent two additional SMS reminders 1 and 2 weeks after their vaccination prompting them to seek care if they develop any symptoms including new-onset severe headache, weakness on one side, difficulty speaking, severe abdominal pain, swelling or pain in one leg, shortness of breath or chest pain, or blood spots around the site of injection,” she said.

Meanwhile, Professor Barry Schoub, who chairs the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Covid-19 Vaccines, said “The aim is to finish before the 17 of May with the phase of the healthcare workers.

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African News Agency

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