Health Minister urged to get backup vaccines for Pfizer and J&J

“The ministerial advisory council (MAC) on vaccines has recommended to Health Minister Joe Phaahla that efforts be made to secure AstraZeneca and Sinovac Biotech vaccines in the event of a potential shortage of the Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson (J&J) doses,” reported Reuters (12 August 2021). According to MAC member Professor Greg Hussey of the UCT Vaccines for Africa Initiative, SA would probably have enough J&J and Pfizer vaccines for all South Africans by the end of 2021 or early 2022.
However, unforeseen events, like the recent contamination of J&J vaccine at its US plant and the shortage of vaccines due to a halt in exports from the Serum Institute of India, lead to the MAC recommending the possibility of getting one or two of these vaccines as potential backups. Hussey said there was a global demand for vaccines and veryfew companies making them, so shortages might occur.
• A new laboratory study has shown that antibodies triggered by Sinovac Biotech’s Covid-19 vaccine declined below a key threshold from about six months after a second dose for most recipients, but a third shot had a strong booster effect.

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