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The Johnson & Johnson vaccine rollout has come to a temporary halt, with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States advising for the vaccine’s temporary suspension in the US.
Following this, on 13 April 2021, National Health Minister Zweli Mkhize announced the South African Government took note of the FDA’s decision. “This has occurred due to reports of six females who developed unusual blood clots with low platelets. These incidents occurred between 6 and 13 days after vaccination in women between the ages of 18 and 48 years old. It must be noted that over 6,6 million citizens have been inoculated with Johnson and Johnson vaccine in the US.”
However, he emphasised that we have not had any reports of clots forming after vaccination in SA, and this is after having inoculated 289, 787 healthcare workers under the Sisonke Protocol.
After this advisory came to his attention, the Health Minister explains he held urgent consultations with South African scientists, who advised that we cannot take the decision made by the FDA lightly.
He states, “Based on their advice, we have determined to voluntarily suspend our rollout until the causal relationship between the development of clots and the Johnson and Johnson vaccine is suﬃciently interrogated. SAHPRA will collate information from Johnson and Johnson, the FDA and other regulatory bodies to make a thorough assessment of the situation and advise us as a regulatory body that has exercised its authoritative powers on the approval of the vaccine in their own right.”
With the much needed Johnson and Johnson vaccine temporary suspended, is this a wise decision? Especially during a global pandemic claiming just over 2,974,544 lives worldwide while shattering global industries and economies.
Let us look at the facts; as Mkhize pointed out, the FDA highlighted 6.6 million US citizens received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, with only six people suffering from blood clotting. For those who are not a math wiz, this works out to 0.0000909091% of people at risk.
Compared to pen caps that kill approximately 100 people per year in the US alone, it becomes a bit difficult to justify the Government’s drastic decision to pause vaccinations. Let alone the 700 people who are killed by toasters each year, according to Shark Sider. Such is the threat of pen caps killing people; on their website, BIC states, “The reason that some BIC® pens have a hole in their cap is to prevent the cap from completely obstructing the airway if accidentally inhaled.”
While a threat to human life must be considered when it comes to a medical product’s rollout, over a year later and a potential 3rd wave looming, is this the correct decision to make?
What are your thoughts? Share your views in the comment section below.