The World Health Organisation says South Africa should not be deterred by the United States’ temporary pause on the roll out of the Johnson and Johnson (J&J) vaccine. It says the drug has been approved for use by its regulatory body and should be used accordingly by countries.

US drug authority, the FDA, suspended the vaccine pending an investigation on possible cross-contamination at an American plant.

South Africa has ordered 31 million J&J doses. More than a million doses are ready for release at the Aspen plant in Gqeberha while another 3 million were due to be delivered in June.

Local regulator, SAHPRA, says they are awaiting the FDA report before clearing the J&J vaccine. WHO Assistant Director-General, Mariângela Simão says South Africa does not need to rely on an American report.

Sharing vaccines with developing nations

World Health Organisation Chief, Tedros Ghebreyesus has called on G7 leaders to commit to sharing vaccines with developing nations to address the current global inequity. He made the remarks at the bi-weekly COVID-19 briefing, saying they need 250 million more doses.

The G7, which is comprised of Canada, the US, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, Italy and France; will meet this weekend with global public health high on the agenda.

Ghebreyesus says there is a target to have at least 10% of populations in all countries vaccinated by September.

Representatives from the world’s leading democratic nations prepare for the G7 Summit: