The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has called for an immediate halt of Phase 1 of the vaccine rollout in the country, which focuses on vaccinating healthcare workers. In a statement, the party says the call is guided by United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centres for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation for a pause in the administration of the single dose J&J COVID-19 vaccine.

In a joint statement, the FDA and the Centres for Disease Control said it was investigating blood clots in six women who received the single dose shot.

One of the woman died and another one is in a critical condition in hospital.

US recommends pausing administration of J&J vaccine over blood clots concerns:

South Africa has vaccinated almost 290 000 healthcare workers with the J&J vaccine in an ongoing research study since February, with another 200 000 doses arriving this week.

Government has also secured 30 million market doses to be rolled out in the country from May.

The EFF says President Cyril Ramaphosa and Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize should not abandon their call to protect citizens from health-related threats.

“The EFF emphasises the call to President Cyril Ramaphosa and Minister Zwelini Mkhize to not abandon their duty to protect our people from a possible health related threat in regards to the Johnson & Johnson Vaccine in favour of their business associates. The decision to halt the Johnson & Johnson Vaccine rollout should not rely on domestic evidence and life being lost in our country first when health bodies that they initially relied on to motivate the extended study/trial of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine cite a concern related to the J&J Vaccine,” says the party.

The party has urged the government to consider the Russian and Chinese vaccines, which they say have proven to be of better efficacy.

Dr Mkhize is expected to make an announcement on South Africa’s response to the US authorities’ call for a temporal halt in the use of the J&J COVID-19 vaccine.

‘SA has not yet taken a decision on how to proceed with the J&J vaccine’: