WHO ‘baffled’ by SA’s pause on J&J jabs – as vaccine rollout stalls

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) has expressed its surprise over South Africa’s decision to pause its rollout of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccines. The decision, made last month, has prompted a reaction from international experts.

Yes, South Africa CAN use its Johnson & Johnson vaccines – so why aren’t we?

Here’s what it comes down to: A batch of vaccines waiting to be jabbed into the arms of the South African public *might* have been cross-contaminated with a batch of AstraZeneca. This, after both doses were manufactured in the same US plant. The FDA has temporarily suspended the rollout Stateside.

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However, it doesn’t have to be a ‘one size fits all’ approach. WHO Assistant Director-General, Mariângela Simão, says South Africa does not need to rely on an American report to dictate its own vaccine policy. With the J&J shots gaining emergency approval in Mzansi, they CAN be administered in the meantime:

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How many people were vaccinated on Monday 7 June?

The earliest available J&J vaccines also expire at the end of June, creating the potential of a mad rush to immunise millions within a few weeks. However, looking at our latest stats, that now seems like an impossibility.

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On Monday, just 6 812 people – across the ENTIRE country – received a COVID-19 jab. This is a very, very small number, and throws us back to the days where vaccines were only available to healthcare staff. An FDA announcement on the ‘contaminated’ shots is expected in the next day or two, and progress can’t come soon enough for South Africa.

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