Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccines in South Africa

Dear Colleagues,

I attended an urgent meeting last night as part of the Inter Professional Rehabilitation Indaba group to receive an update from Dr Unben Pillay (CEO of ASAIPA) regarding the Coronavirus vaccine roll out.

The first batch of 80 000 doses has arrived and is being delivered to the largest government hospitals across the country. Further batches of approx 80 000 doses are expected every two weeks until 300 000 doses have been received. Thereafter if all goes according to plan, a further 200 000 doses will be added. These initial 500 000 doses will be free as they form part of the ongoing clinical trials.

The process is being overseen by the Medical Research Council led by Prof Glenda Gray and thus far the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has shown 57% efficacy against the 501Y.V2 variant found locally as well as 85% protection against serious illness and 100% against death from coronavirus in almost 44 000 trial cases. It is also a single dose vaccination.

The Pfizer vaccine is also expected to arrive in the country by the end of next month and then both vaccines will be administered. 30% of the vaccines will be allocated to the private sector to vaccinate private healthcare professionals as per the ratio of 2 government : 1 private healthcare member.

The initial vaccination phase 1 is aimed at Healthcare professionals (and their staff as well as healthcare students) which is estimated at 1.2 million. Phase 2 is approximately 20 million including essential workers (such as teachers, police, etc) and general population at high risk (co-morbidities, elderly).

For those who have registered, you should be receiving a sms to confirm that you are on the registry. This does not indicate how soon you will receive the vaccination, but that you are in the system.

If you haven’t registered yet, you are encouraged do so on the Health Department’s Electronic Vaccination Data System (EVDS) at: https://vaccine.enroll.health.gov.za (This is the centralised registry which has received the lists from Discovery, HPCSA, etc.)

Dr Pillay has agreed to represent the Inter Professional Rehabilitation Indaba group in ongoing discussions and will update us of any developments.

Sincerely,

Heather McCrae
SAOPA COO

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