South Africa regulator recommends lifting pause on J&J vaccine

Health regulator sets conditions for lifting the pause on Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

A healthcare worker receives a dose of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 shot at a vaccination centre at Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa, March 26, 2021 [File: Themba Hadebe/AP Photo]

South Africa’s health regulator has recommended that the government lift the pause on administering drugmaker Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine, given that certain conditions are met.

“These conditions include, but are not limited to, strengthened screening and monitoring of participants who are at high risk of a blood clotting disorder,” the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) said on Saturday.

“In addition, measures are to be implemented to ensure the safe management of any participants who develop vaccine-induced thrombosis and thrombocytopenia (VITT),” the statement added.

SAHPRA said on Wednesday that it had recently reviewed data from Johnson & Johnson’s local research study immunising healthcare workers and found no significant safety concerns.

South Africa suspended the rollout of the J&J vaccine in the “implementation study” on Tuesday, after health agencies in the United States recommended pausing its use because of rare cases of blood clots in six people inoculated with it, out of some seven million people who have received the shot in the country.

A US panel will meet again next week to discuss whether the pause on the use of the vaccine should continue after delaying a vote on the matter earlier this week.

Source: Reuters