HARARE – Zimbabwe has made a climb down on its initial position against Western made COVID-19 vaccines with reports suggesting the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been approved.
The Medicines Control of Zimbabwe (MCZ) this week authorised the use of the Western made vaccine for emergency purposes with effect from 29th of July 2021.
The use of J&J vaccine is only 12 months but can still be extended provided the public health emergency conditions in the country are still valid.
Acting director of Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe, Richard Rukwata, confirmed the latest development in a statement on Wednesday.
“If additional satisfactory data needed for full registration are submitted in an application to the authority, then full marketing authorisation could be granted,” said Rukwata.
“Based on the review of the submitted quality, safety and efficacy data upon performing a benefit-risk assessment thereof, emergency use authorisation has been granted for Ad26.Sars-Cov-S manufactured by Johnson and Johnson.
“This authorisation was issued on the basis of section 75 of the Medicines and Allied Substances Control Act (Chapter 15:03).”
It becomes the first Western vaccine approved for use against COVID-19 in the Southern African nation whose foreign policy position is tilted towards the East.
Zimbabwe’s Look East vaccine policy
Zimbabwe had successively rejected any attempts to make the Western made vaccines in the country, instead preferring to go for the Sinopharm and Sinovac (China), Covaxin (India) and Sputnik V (Russia).
The government turned down a donation of Johnson & Johnson vaccines under the African Union programme in July this year, claiming the country does not have facilities for the safe storage of the vaccine.
Johnson & Johnson, also known as the Janssen vaccine, requires only a one-dose shot compared to other vaccines which prescribe one to receive at least two injections at intervals.
The vaccine was developed in Leiden, Netherlands by the Janssen Vaccines in collaboration with Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a parent company based in Belgium.
Janssen Pharmaceuticals is a subsidiary of the American entity, Johnson & Johnson.