Cape Town: A new batch of Johnson & Johnson vaccines landed in the country on Monday, before the expected roll out of phase 2 of the country's vaccination drive.
The latest batch of vaccines to touch down at OR Tambo International Airport had been delayed due to a flight “mix up“.
Last week, the government announced that Phase 2 of the vaccination drive would kick off in mid-May for persons over the age of 60, persons with comorbidities and those in congregant settings.
Close to 280 000 health-care workers have received the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine. Goga says they expect to reach the 500 000 mark and conclude the study by the end of April.
Health Minister Zweli Mkhize confirmed that South Africa has secured 51 million doses of vaccines from J&J and Pfizer.
South Africa has been receiving batches of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine every two weeks in preparation for their mass roll out.
Department of Health chief director Dr Lesley Bamford said last week that South Africans would be able to register for vaccination on the electronic portal from April 16.
“We need to ensure that every district or sub-district in the country understands exactly who their target population is, that they have the correct mix of vaccination sites and that each person who needs to be vaccinated is then linked to a vaccination site that is as close as possible to where that person resides,” Bamford said.
The country's vaccination strategy has identified several vaccination sites, including public and private sector sites, which will be health facilities such as hospitals, clinics, pharmacies and GP practices and non-health sites such as schools, church halls, shopping centres and work-based occupational health sites.
Earlier in the year several healthcare workers who had received the J&J vaccine had complained of side-effects.
“I have been experiencing headaches, severe muscle pain and fatigue since I received the J&J vaccine on February 24,” said a Western Cape healthcare worker, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
“My GP had to prescribe me oil which I need to take daily or won’t get through the day and 2 Panados 3 times a day just to survive. How are they doing research if they are not listening to people who got the vaccine?.”
However, according to co-principal investigator of the J&J implementation study, Professor Glenda Gray, some of the severe allergic reactions could have been avoided if healthcare workers were forthcoming about their allergies.