Pharamaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson has applied to register a Covid-19 vaccine in South Africa, according to the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority. That makes Johnson & Johnson the first pharamaceutical company in the country to register a Covid-19 vaccine.
It is reported that the government hopes to receive its first vaccine dose from the Covax global vaccine distribution scheme in the second quarter of 2021. The method will include a ‘rolling review approach’ where the evaluation for the vaccine candidate is carried out as data becomes available.
In this context, President Cyril Ramaphosa told the media “It is anticipated that we could have access to a suitable vaccine by the second quarter of 2021 and will initially receive quantities for at least 10 percent of the population. While this gives us hope, the reality is that it will take some time before we can vaccinate enough South Africans to be assured of little to no transmission of the virus, and it will be a costly undertaking. We need to prepare for this, and be ready to make the difficult decisions about where to find the money and when to deploy it.”
The regulator will follow the guidelines set out by the World Health Organisation and work carried out by international counterparts. These include European and US pharmaceutical regulators. The move is an attempt to speed up approvals by avoiding the work that has already been done, media reports said. The first Covid-19 vaccine application is expected to come out in the next one or two weeks.