The yet-to-be-released Pfizer vaccine is the only one approved for an emergency roll-out across the general population.
SA Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra) chief executive Dr Boitumelo Semete told told the legislature’s Covid-19 ad hoc committee during a briefing that the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccines, which are being given to health-care workers as part of Phase 1 of the roll-out, are currently part of a trial and not for general population roll-out, reports IOL.
“Several pre-submission meetings were held with prospective vaccine manufacturers to ascertain, among other things, application requirements including the available information applicants have to support their applications.”
The provincial Health Department informed the committee that the J&J vaccines were delivered in batches from other clinical trials around the world, explaining why the roll-out was so slow.
According to the department, the vaccines’ efficacy was already evident. Only 23 health-care workers in the Western Cape are currently infected with Covid-19, the lowest number since the pandemic began in April 2020.
According to Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo, only half of the Western Cape’s health-care workers were scheduled to be vaccinated by the time the department hoped to receive the Pfizer vaccines, in early April.
“This misses the national deadline for the vaccination of health-care workers.”
“The Pfizer and J&J approvals have been granted by Sahpra, and Covishield, a variant of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, has had approval granted, but it’s roll-out has been put on hold,” said Mbombo.