The Department of Health says 300,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine have been cleared for shipping to South Africa “as a matter of extreme urgency” from the US.
The statement comes after the US Food and Drug Administration announced that 60 million doses of the J&J vaccines, manufactured in Baltimore, be destroyed over fears that the vaccines may have been contaminated at the plant.
Currently, South Africa has two million J&J vaccines on hold.
“The vaccines awaiting distribution from the Gqeberha plant need further assessment by Sahpra [South African Health Products Regulatory Authority] and Sahpra will soon advise if they are suitable for use in South Africa. There is now a real possibility that they may not be, however this is for the regulator to rule on,” the department said on Friday evening.
“Furthermore, the FDA announced that, after careful evaluation of these doses, they approved an extension of the expiry date after determining that the vaccine can be stored in 2-8 degrees celsius [normal bar fridge] for four-and-a-half months instead of three months.”
FDA announcing today that it is authorizing for use, under the emergency use authorization (EUA) for the Janssen #COVID19 vaccine, two batches of vaccine drug substance manufactured at the Emergent BioSolutions facility in Baltimore. https://t.co/oSUDlxpw9r pic.twitter.com/4kTxLk7hJX
— U.S. FDA (@US_FDA) June 11, 2021
The FDA is still evaluating more J&J batches for safety and department said it was “hoping that this will make more doses of Johnson & Johnson available”.
Daily Covid-19 stats
Earlier on Friday, the cumulative number of detected Covid-19 cases rose to 1,722,086, with 8021 new cases identified in the latest 24-hour cycle.
“The majority of new cases today are from the Gauteng province [60%], followed by the Western Cape [9%] province. Both the Free State and North West provinces accounted for 6%,” National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) spokesperson, Sinenhlanhla Jimoh, said on Friday evening said.
Compiled by Neo Thale