South Africa regulator to discuss Johnson & Johnson shot after US pause

South African health authorities and scientists will meet Wednesday to discuss the US decision to suspend use of Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine after it was linked to rare blood clots.

The Ministerial Advisory Committee on Covid-19 will be part of the meeting and will advise the government, Barry Schoub, the head of the group, said in an interview. The South African Health Regulatory Products Authority and the scientists running a trial of J&J’s vaccine will be part of the meeting, according to Yuven Gounden, a spokesman for the regulator.

The J&J shot is a key element to South Africa’s vaccination plan, and has already been used to inoculate health workers as part of the trial with no reported adverse effects. The version is to be manufactured in the country by drugmaker Aspen Pharmacare Holdings Ltd., while its single-dose nature makes it easier to distribute than double-shot alternatives such as the version made by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE.

J&J said it’s delaying the roll out of its Covid-19 vaccine in Europe after the US decision to suspend the program, which the Food & Drug Administration said is likely to last just a matter of days.

“We are in discussions about how should proceed in South Africa,” Glenda Gray, co-chair of the J&J study, said by text message.

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