Pausing vaccines was ethical thing to do, says doctor
EVEN though South Africa has vaccinated 500 000 health-care workers using the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine, with no blood clots registered as side-effects, pausing the vaccinations was the ethical thing to do, according to the provincial head of Health Dr Keith Cloete.
Speaking during Premier Alan Winde’s regular weekly digicon, Dr Cloete said: “We understand such decisions have big implications for trust in the vaccine and create a disruption of the programme, but weighing all of these things up, we have to understand the reason behind the pause. “The big issue is that the J&J vaccine in this country has been made available through the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra) for trial conditions and, as such, we are bound by ethics to be cautious.
“When an event like the six clots in 6.6 million people was announced publicly by the FDA, to say they are pausing vaccinations to study the context of those cases, our scientific community and the ethics committee here were bound by that decision because, internationally, the product we are using has been for trial conditions.”
In his presentation Cloete said in the event that the decision to pause the J&J vaccines is lifted, the plan was to scale up vaccination during April to complete Phase 1, with an expected arrival of Pfizer and J&J doses by the end of April 2021/ beginning May 2021.