The Freedom Front Plus (FF Plus) is calling on health workers who have already received their dose of the Johnson& Johnson vaccine to be closely monitored.

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize this week said South Africa is temporarily suspending the rollout of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine off the advice of American officials.

The national government issued the directive after six cases of blood clotting were found in the United States among people who received the J&J jab.

Mkhize says medical authorities are prioritising the safety of people. He hopes that the suspension of the rollout will be for a few days: 

 

FF Plus Health spokesperson Phillip van Staden says it is important that close to 300 000 healthcare workers who have already been vaccinated are closely monitored so that prompt action can be taken if they show the same side effects.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance (DA) has warned that the temporary halting of the rollout of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be disastrous for health workers and the most vulnerable in the country.

DA Shadow Minister for Health, Siviwe Gwarube says a ‘stop-start’ approach to the COVID-19 vaccine programme could be incredibly damaging to public perception of vaccination against the pandemic when the risks seem smaller statistically and scientifically.

Western Cape ready for rollout

Earlier, the Western Cape Premier Alan Winde says the temporary suspension of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine rollout could negatively impact the province’s vaccination programme.

Speaking during a weekly digital media conference to give an update on the COVID-19  treatment and vaccination process, Winde says all that is left is to delay the onset of the third wave as far as possible.

“Also to say you know this week another blow when we saw a pause on the continued roll-out of Johnson and Johnson vaccine. Of course, these are the decisions made out by the ethics committee making sure that we get everything right and allowing that time you know of course when these things happen they may set you back.”

Western Cape to upscale vaccine rollout to general public:

The number of COVID-19 infections continues to stabilise in the Western Cape. The provincial head of the Health Department, Dr Keith Cloete, says the number of hospitalisations and deaths has decreased significantly.

“We are in a very heightened vigilant and surveillance stage and we urge everybody to adhere to protective behaviour to reduce new cases and especially to delay the early onset of a third wave we have reflected on our experiences we have learnt a lot of things, we are applying our learnings and we want to believe we get smarter as we do this as we go forward.”

Phase two of the vaccination is expected to start during the third week of May and will run until the end of October.

-Additional reporting by Mlamli Maneli