SA health regulator registers J&J’s COVID-19 vaccine

SOUTH Africa’s health regulator has registered Johnson & Johnson’s  COVID-19 vaccine, paving the way for deliveries to start in the second quarter.

The registration of J&J’s vaccine is a boost for the country worst affected by the pandemic on the continent in terms of recorded infections and deaths. South Africa is counting on J&J to supply 31 million doses of its vaccine.

J&J said in a statement that the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) had “granted registration with conditions” for its single-dose vaccine.

SAHPRA’s spokesman confirmed that J&J’s vaccine had been registered when called by Reuters. He said more details would follow in a statement.

South Africa’s vaccination campaign was dealt a blow in early February when it put on hold a plan to start inoculations with AstraZeneca’s vaccine. A small research study showed AstraZeneca’s shot offered minimal protection against mild to moderate COVID-19 caused by the dominant local coronavirus variant.

The government switched to using the J&J shot in a research study to start protecting frontline healthcare workers. So far it has vaccinated roughly 260,000 people, out of 1.25 million healthworkers, according to health ministry data.

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J&J aims to supply 2.8 million doses to South Africa in the second quarter, it said in its statement.

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