South Africa regulator recommends lifting J&J vaccine pause after some conditions

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COVID-19 vaccination at Khayelitsha Hospital near Cape Town

(Reuters) - South Africa's health regulator, on Saturday, recommended that the government lift the pause on administering drugmaker Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccines, given that certain conditions are met.

"These conditions include, but are not limited to, strengthened screening and monitoring of participants who are at high risk of a blood clotting disorder," the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) said.

"In addition, measures are to be implemented to ensure the safe management of any participants who develop vaccine-induced thrombosis and thrombocytopenia (VITT)," the statement added.

SAHPRA said on Wednesday that it had recently reviewed data from Johnson & Johnson's local research study immunising healthcare workers and found no major safety concerns.

South Africa suspended the rollout of the J&J vaccine in the "implementation study" on Tuesday, after U.S. health agencies recommended pausing its use because of rare cases of blood clots in six people inoculated with it, out of some 7 million people who have received the shot in the United States.

A U.S. panel will meet again next week to discuss whether the pause on the use of the vaccine should continue, after delaying a vote on the matter earlier this week.

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Aurora Ellis)