DURBAN – SOUTH AFRICA's batch of Johnson and Johnson vaccines awaiting distribution from the Gqebherha plant need further assessment by SAHPRA and SAHPRA will soon advise if they are suitable for use in South Africa – this is according to the Department of Health following reports that at least 60 million doses are expected to be discarded due to possible contamination.
Earlier today, IOL reported that due to problems at a Baltimore factory that makes the J&J vaccine, federal regulators say that all the doses in question, approximately 60 million, should be discarded.
The Ministry they were aware of the reports.
“We confirm that the FDA announced that two batches of these doses are safe and have been cleared for emergency use,” the Ministry said.
The Ministry said there is now a real possibility that they may not be, however this is for the regulator to rule on.
“In total, 300 000 doses are cleared to be shipped to South Africa as a matter of extreme urgency. Furthermore, the FDA announced that, after careful evaluation of these doses, they approved an extension of the expiry date after determining that the vaccine can be stored in 2-8 degrees celsius (normal bar fridge) for 4,5 months instead of 3 months.”
The Ministry said work is being undertaken to identify more safe doses for the rest of the mass vaccination programme.
“We further note that the FDA is still evaluating some batches and we will await those outcomes, in the hopes that this will make more doses of J&J available to the international community, including South Africa,” the Ministry said.
It added that further announcements will follow in due course.
“We remain committed to the success of the South African mass vaccination campaign and are doing everything in our power to source safe and effective vaccines four all people residing in South Africa,” the Ministry said.