The national department of health says the roll-out of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine has been successful so far. This comes as the country received the second batch of the vaccine on Saturday morning.
Another 80 000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine touched down at OR Tambo International Airport from the US.
On Friday Gauteng said it had completed the vaccination of the first 16 000 healthcare workers. The provincial government announced additional vaccination sites from next week – Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital, Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital in Pretoria, Netcare Milpark Private Hospital in Johannesburg and the Ahmed Kathrada Private Hospital in Lenasia.
“Within just over one week, 63 648 patient facing healthcare workers in the public and private sectors have been vaccinated against Covid-19. The Sisonke programme is outperforming original targets for the number of vaccines delivered in its first week and is set to continue this momentum in its second week as more sites come online,” the health department said in a statement.
Government revealed that an expert panel of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) unanimously recommended the vaccine for approval last night. The vaccine’s efficacy is more than previously expected – with a 64% efficacy rate at preventing the more contagious 501Y.V2 variant.
“FDA approval of the single-dose J&J vaccine for general use is expected this weekend, paving the way for similar approval by the SA Health Products Regulatory Authority in a few weeks. Until then, the early access J&J vaccine will continue to be provided through the Sisonke partnership between government and the SA Medical Research Council.”
But the administering of the vaccine did not take off smoothly. Hospitals in Gauteng and the Western Cape experienced some glitches which saw overcrowding at most of the facilities.
Western Cape Premier Alan Winde’s spokesperson Bianca Capazorio explained the teething problems they faced to City Press.
“The Western Cape experienced some minor challenges in the first few days of the vaccination roll-out, which have been addressed and resolved. We have been able to ramp up vaccinations and anticipate finishing the last of our 13 000 doses over the weekend,” Capazorio said.
She said there were also issues regarding the nationally managed electronic vaccination data registration system. They had to use back-up paper-based system to overcome this.
“The system also experienced delays in sending SMS messages to healthcare workers which invite them to consent to the vaccine. It subsequently sends out the e-voucher to the healthcare worker to go and get vaccinated. This did cause some delays but the issue has been resolved,” she said.
“Particularly with private sector vaccinations, these issues did result in long queues on some days, but we have managed to refine processes for better flow and efficiency.”
The schedule is back on track and as of 5pm on Thursday 8 790 –about 67% of all available vaccines – had been administered.