'We are procuring vaccines from a number of areas' - Ramaphosa

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President Cyril Ramaphosa during his oversight visit of the Durban Port.
President Cyril Ramaphosa during his oversight visit of the Durban Port.
  • President Cyril Ramaphosa says while the J&J vaccine rollout was halted, there were still other options on the table.
  • He said government was procuring vaccines from Pfizer and Sputnik.
  • Ramaphosa said that despite the pause in J&J vaccines, other options were on the table.

President Cyril Ramaphosa says while the Johnson & Johnson vaccine rollout has been halted, the government was exploring other options and expecting other vaccines soon.

"We are procuring vaccines from a number of areas. Johnson & Johnson are halted for now, but hopefully not for too long because the scientists are going to look at the efficacy of the vaccine. Pfizer will be arriving and Sputnik will be arriving," the president said.

Ramaphosa was speaking at the Durban Port on Thursday where he conducted an oversight visit.

Addressing media after a boat tour of the port, Ramaphosa said government was not limited to just one manufacturer.

"We work with a number of vaccine developers and manufacturers. We work with the Chinese, the Russians, the Cubans, European companies and so forth."

He said challenges experienced recently were not unique to South Africa.

"We are not the only country experiencing setbacks when it comes to vaccines."

He said it was important to remember that vaccine development was still new.

"On the vaccine side, [all of us around the world] are traversing uncharted territory. Our objective as government is to protect the lives of South Africans. And that, we will continue to do and continue to make choices."

ALSO READ | J&J vaccine rollout suspended, final decision expected soon

The health ministry resolved to halt the Johnson & Johnson vaccine rollout after the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) made a similar decision.

The FDA reported that six women developed blood clots after using the vaccine. Over six million US residents have been injected with the vaccine.

Locally, more than a million doses of the J&J vaccine are supposed to be delivered next week by the Aspen facility in the Eastern Cape.

News24 reported that Mkhize, in his announcement on Tuesday evening, said after consulting with health experts: "We have determined to voluntarily suspend our rollout until the causal relationship between the development of clots and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is sufficiently interrogated."

This is the second time the country had paused the rollout of a Covid-19 vaccine. The AstraZeneca vaccine was halted just a few days before it was rolled out after it was found to not be effective against the 501Y.V2 variant.

At the time, the pause was supposed to be temporary, but a decision was made to sell the one million vaccines to the African Union.

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