300 000 J&J vaccines for teachers to arrive in SA in a few days

By Rudolph Nkgadima Time of article published Jun 15, 2021

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THE plan to vaccinate teachers, cleaners and other support staff at South African schools is back on track, after pharmaceutical company Aspen said it will have 300 000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine ready within days.

In a statement on Monday, the company said it was extremely disappointed that specific batches of the J&J Covid-19 vaccine manufactured at the Gqeberha production site had to be destroyed.

The vaccination plan suffered a setback on Friday when the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) deemed the J&J vaccines, which were designated for the SA market, unfit to use after contamination problems at a Covid-19 vaccine plant in Baltimore. About two million doses in SA were affected.

“This is not only a setback to both the Aspen and Johnson & Johnson teams who have worked tirelessly to ensure the manufacture of these batches, but more importantly, has the potential to negatively impact the vaccine rollout across South Africa and Africa,” read the Aspen statement.

The company further stated that to mitigate the potential risk to vaccine access, and in substitution of the volumes lost, they will provide 300 000 doses of the J&J vaccine for South African teachers within days.

“Over the next few weeks, Johnson & Johnson will be delivering substantial quantities of compliant finished vaccines to South Africa to replace the lost stock, thereby ensuring the momentum in the South African vaccine initiative is maintained,” the statement read.

With Primary schools due to return to normal schedules on July 26, the Department of Health said it was targeting a total of 500 000 people in the entire basic education sector.

Meanwhile, the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government has said it is planning to open an additional 21 new vaccination sites, as the country gears up to inoculate teachers.

According to the provincial government, KwaZulu-Natal will receive 110 400 out of the 500 000 J&J vaccine doses.

According to KwaZulu-Natal, management in their respective districts and circuits will guide educators regarding which sites to visit to be vaccinated.

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