South Africa’s health authorities have reportedly started administering Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine to the homeless population of the country to ensure complete protection and improve its fight against the virus. The Western Cape government will make use of the J&J COVID-19 vaccine for the rural, homeless, and remote communities.
It is worth mentioning that the jab was first approved by the South African government back in April 2021 following the successful trials on 470,000 health workers. As per the results of the study, the Johnson & Johnson shot recorded 67% and 71% efficacy as well as 91% and 96.2% protection against death during the spread of the beta and delta variants respectively.
Nomafrench Mbombo, the Health Minister of Western Cape reportedly said that they are planning to use the J&J vaccine instead of the Pfizer jab since only one dose is needed. He added that this move will ensure that more people get vaccinated against COVID-19 since they won’t need to bother about coming back for the second dose.
Approximately 200,000 people are currently living on the streets in South Africa. The homeless community is the most vulnerable portion of the country’s overall population owing to a higher rate of preexisting medical conditions such as tuberculosis, diabetes, and HIV.
In this context, Director of Hope Exchange Annie Kirke was quoted saying that winters are especially hard for the homeless since they are highly prone to suffer from flu and cold in that period. She further added that many homeless people have co-morbidities which makes them more susceptible to COVID-19.
The homeless community in South Africa will be able to sign up for the vaccine even in the absence of formal documents, cited sources with relevant information. Their names and data will be added to the country’s Electronic Vaccine Data System once they sign up.