South Africa health regulator approves Sinopharm vaccine against COVID-19

The South Africa health regulator stated that it had approved a COVID-19 vaccine Sinopharm from China. However, a senior health official noted that the government was not planning to obtain doses for now.

South Africa is the country which is worst hit by the pandemic in Africa, and they recorded a high number of COVID-19 infections and deaths, has used the Pfizer-BioNTech)PFE.N)., (22UAy.DE) and Johnson and Johnson (JNJ.N) shots in their vaccination campaign.

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However, African authorities postponed some vaccine deliveries late last year in 2021 because of the excess as hesitation slowed the uptake.

Drugs operator SAHPRA stated in a statement that the Sinopharm approval was based upon “acceptable safety, quality and efficacy data presented by MC Pharma,” directing to a local regulatory pharmaceutical company that has partnered with Sinopharm.

Furthermore, he stated that the vaccine was meant mainly for those under 18 and over, subject to requirements. It was issued in line with the national vaccination programme and submitted periodic security updates.

According to ‘Nicholas Crisp’ deputy director-general in the health department, “we are not going to obtain vaccine as we have plenty in stock.”

Then the department stated that the authorities were negotiating to buy Sinopharm doses.

As per the SAHPRA statement on Monday, the department authorised Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for those aged 12 and more after being approved for emergency use by the WHO (World Health Organisation) in May last year.

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The clinical trial data indicates that they had a lower efficacy against symptomatic disease than the shot developed by Pfizer.

Last year, in December, the WHO urged that people who obtained an inactivated COVID-19 vaccine-like ones made by Sinopharm, another Chinese manufacturer, Sinovac Biotech and India Bharat Biotech, should receive a booster dose to protect against waning immunity.

Inactivated vaccines take the SARS-CoV-2 virus and inactivate or kill it using chemicals, heat or radiation.

Meanwhile, South Africa has completely vaccinated around 42% of its adult population of approximately 40 million.

The government has signed supply deals with Pfizer and J&J and obtained some Pfizer doses via the global vaccine-distribution scheme COVAX.