Very few side-effects have been reported so far among the more than 177 000 healthcare workers who have received the COVID-19 Johnson and Johnson vaccines. That’s according to vice president of research at the South African Medical Research Council, Professor Jeffrey Mphahlele.

He says the side-effects have included body pains.

“Those who experience side-effects are investigated, obviously we have not had any story where somebody experienced side-effect that was not given any attention. There are people that reported Anaphylaxis after vaccination, there were one or two cases that required hospitilisation after vaccination. But by and large, most report headache, increased temperature, fever. Most of them do resolve without serious effects.”

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Vaccination happening at a slower pace

On Thursday, Deputy President David Mabuza said the vaccine rollout is not happening as fast as was hoped. Mabuza visited the pharmaceutical company, Biovac Insitute in Cape Town, to view the possibilities the facility holds in enabling South Africa to manufacture its own vaccines in the future.

The plan was to upscale the vaccination programme towards the end of March. However, Mabuza said a shortage in supply is a major hurdle.

“No good news, we are still struggling with availability. Of course, J&J is picking up now and Pfizer will come into play so in the next few weeks we are expecting more vaccines. We thought by the end of March we would reach a million, but it doesn’t look like it; probably the first week of April, the second week of April, that’s when we’re going to reach a million. But as we are speaking now, inoculation is continuing, though not at a very good pace. I can say the pace is not good.”

Mabuza said more vaccines are scheduled to arrive in the country soon.

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