South Africa's Olympic and Paralympic Athletes to Receive J&J Vaccine
South Africa's Olympic and Paralympic Athletes to Receive J&J Vaccine. Photo: SA News

South Africa’s elite athletes will be vaccinated through the Sisonke Study ahead of international sporting events, including the Tokyo Games kicking off in July.

This comes after the approval granted by the South African Health Product Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) to make available a “modest” number of the remaining COVID-19 Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine doses to support the nation before they expire.

According to the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC), the vaccination of these athletes, although not compulsory will take place at various vaccination sites throughout the country.

An urgent application had been made to SAHPRA to waiver the eligibility criteria to include persons of high priority to the nation.

The athletes would have received the Pfizer vaccine… but there would not have been enough time for them to have their second doses before departure to the Olympics in July.

Their Pfizer doses will now go to “ordinary citizens” of SA.

Co-national principal investigator, Professor Linda Gail Bekker said they are glad to be of assistance.

“At the end of the day these individuals are ambassadors for our country, they have to travel to do their jobs and they need to be vaccinated,” Bekker added. –