SA’s on-off Covid-19 vaccination programme has been rescued by a batch of 80 000 vaccines that Johnson & Johnson was keeping in reserve in Europe, reported Sunday Times (14 Feb 2021). Quick footwork by officials and scientists in SA, and approval on Friday by the SA Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA), will bring the drugs here. They will be administered from J&J trial sites to health workers.

The measure is a stopgap until the first batch of Pfizer vaccines is rolled out in April, at the earliest. This comes after the AstraZeneca vaccine was found to be relatively ineffective against the 501Y.V2 variant in SA. SA will be the first country to administer the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in a real-world setting.  

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