Picture: Dinuka Liyanawatte/Reuters
Picture: Dinuka Liyanawatte/Reuters

No AstraZeneca, but J&J vaccines will be rolled out next week, says Mkhize

By Rudolph Nkgadima Time of article published Feb 8, 2021

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Cape Town – Despite the temporary hold for the roll-out of AstraZeneca vaccine, Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize says vaccinations in the country will start next week, as planned with a batch of Johnson and Johnson vaccines.

Mkhize who was speaking on SAfm, said to ensure that the vaccination continues, the government has reached out to vaccine producers, so that we bring forward the vaccines we have ordered.

“Next week the people will start getting vaccines. We have not given dates because we want to align it with our plans.We will be starting the vaccinations next week. We will be getting some Johnson and Johnson doses in time to start next week to vaccinate,” said Mkhize during an interview on SAfm.

Mkhize said “The most important thing was to find an alternative to ensure our plan doesn’t derail. We have been able to achieve that partly, we have reached out to other companies, so that we can bring forward the Johnson and Johnson vaccine which we have ordered from them and we are also going to bring forward the Pfizer vaccine. The issue for us is that the vaccination programme continues.”

Mkhize announced, that the country will put on temporary hold the use of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 shot in its vaccination programme, after data showed it gave minimal protection against mild-to-moderate infection caused by the country’s dominant coronavirus variant.

A joint Wits University/Oxford university study showed that the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine provides minimal protection against mild and moderate cases of the 501y.v2 variant.

One million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine arrived in the country at the beginning of the month, and is due to be administered to health-care workers in the next few days.

The study involved about 2 000 people who were on average 31 years old.

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