The release of SA’s first commercial shipment of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) Covid-19 vaccine from Aspen Pharmacare’s facility near Port Elizabeth is being delayed as a “precautionary” safety measure, reported Business Day (3 May 2021). Although 1,1-m doses are ready for dispatch, it cannot be released until J&J stock worldwide has been approved by medicine regulators in the US and Europe after mistakes by its US contract manufacturer, Emergent BioSolutions.  The delay may slow the start of the vaccine rollout, which is due to start on May 17.

Pfizer’s planned deliveries are still on track and government is continuing to vaccinate healthcare workers with research stock provided by J&J for the Sisonke study.

By April 27, only 533 283 people aged over 60 had registered on the government site, far short of the 5.4-m people who fall into this age band.

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