The SARS-CoV-2 virus variant that was first detected in South Africa has spread to dozens of countries.
South Africa has announced it will resume its vaccination rollout with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine following a temporary suspension for a possible link between the jab and blood clots.
The one-shot vaccine will be administered again starting from Wednesday.
“It has since been established there is a one in a million chance of getting the clot after the vaccine and that it appears that women between the ages of 18 and 48 years old are particularly at risk,” read a statement from South Africa’s health ministry published on Monday.
“With such a low probability of developing a clot, all the regulators across the world have recommended the continued use of Johnson and Johnson.”
Today we are pleased to announce that, following SAHPRA’s recommendation on 17 April 2021 and Cabinet’s concurrence on 21 April 2021, the vaccine rollout will re- sume through the Sisonke Programme on Wednesday, 28 April 2021 #vaccine #VaccineRolloutSA pic.twitter.com/wOrZ68THaz
— Department of Health (@HealthZA) April 26, 2021
The ministry also said that the South African regulator, SAHPRA, added a requirement that all participants need to be informed of the potential risk.
The South Africa government said that the country now has enough shots to inoculate 500,000 health care workers out of 1.2 million.
Many hopes have been staked on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to roll back the pandemic in developing countries, as it is just a single-shot jab that does not need to be kept at ultra-low temperatures.
For South Africa especially, the vaccine represents a key component to its national rollout as the country had already excluded the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine after a small study found that it was less effective in preventing mild to moderate diseases caused by a local variant dominant in South Africa.
According to US data presented on Friday, of 3.9 million women who got the Johnson & Johnson shot, 15 developed serious blood clots and three died.
The majority of the confirmed cases, 13 of the 15, were aged under 50. There were no reported cases among men.
South Africa has officially recorded more than 1.5 million coronavirus cases, including 54,000 deaths.