South Africa could get 20 million more J&J vaccine doses, minister says - (London South East via NewsPoints Desk)

  • South Africa's health minister says the country's agreement with Johnson & Johnson for 11 million COVID-19 vaccine doses includes an option for an extra 20 million doses depending on the availability of stock, as reported in London South East.

  • The country launched its vaccination campaign last month with Johnson & Johnson's single-dose vaccine after suspending plans to administer AstraZeneca's double-dose candidate, when a small trial showed it provided minimal protection against mild-to-moderate illness from the dominant local SARS-CoV-2 variant.

  • The Johnson & Johnson shot is being given to up to 500,000 healthcare workers in a research study to further evaluate it in the field before a larger-scale rollout is expected to start in the second quarter.

  • Local pharmaceutical company Aspen will be manufacturing Johnson & Johnson doses under licence.

  • Health minister Zweli Mkhize added that the vaccine is cost-effective for reasons including that it is effective against the local B.1.351/501Y.V2 variant first identified in South Africa, it is stored at fridge temperature and it is a single-dose vaccine.

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