(The Southern African Times) – Zimbabwe has cleared emergency use of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine, the first western-made vaccine to be approved by the southern African nation, its medicines regulatory body said on Wednesday.
Like many African countries, Zimbabwe is in the throes of a third wave of infections, with nearly half of its 101,711 cumulative cases and 3,280 deaths recorded in this month alone, according to official data.
So far, the Zimbabwe Medicines Control Authority (MCAZ) had only registered vaccines from India, Russia and China.
“MCAZ has reviewed the technical documentation that has been submitted by the manufacturer, and emergency use authorization has been granted and communicated to (Ministry of Health),” MCAZ spokesperson Shingai Gwatidzo said.
He declined to say when Zimbabwe would receive its first J&J vaccines, adding that the health ministry would confirm the vaccine rollout after reviewing cold chain storage requirements.
So far, more than 1.5 million Zimbabweans have received a first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.
Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube said on Sunday that Zimbabwe expected 5 million vaccines under an African Union vaccine procurement mechanism after making a deposit of $ 7.5 million, while $ 1.15 million additional doses would be delivered as part of the COVAX global vaccine distribution program.