JOHANNESBURG – Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said South Africa would voluntarily and temporarily suspend the roll-out of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine following the announcement by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the temporary suspension of the use of the vaccine in the United States.
Earlier on Tuesday the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as the Food and Drug Administration recommended that the country halt the use of the Johnson & Johnson single-dose COVID-19 vaccine after six reported cases where patients developed rare and severe blood clots.
South Africa has already administered the same vaccine to almost 290,000 healthcare workers and more doses are en route for use in the mass vaccination drive.
WATCH: Zweli Mkhize briefing
In a statement, the FDA said these cases occurred among women between the ages of 18 and 48 and symptoms occurred six to 13 days after vaccination.
The US health authorities stated that the recommended “pause” in the use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine was “out of an abundance of caution”.
At least 6.8 million jabs have been administered in the US to date.
Meanwhile, Johnson & Johnson said on Tuesday it would delay rollout of its vaccine in Europe after US authorities moved to suspend use of the shot due to health concerns.
“We have made the decision to proactively delay the rollout of our vaccine in Europe,” J&J said, adding that it was reviewing the cases with European health authorities.
EWN – Additional reporting by AFP.