The Medical Research Council (MRC) has applied to SA’s medicines regulator to conduct a research study which the government hopes will speed up access to Johnson & Johnson’s (J&J) Covid-19 vaccine, after it paused its planned rollout of AtstraZeneca’s shots this week.

J&J’s single-dose vaccine has yet to be registered by any regulatory authority for general use, so this strategy potentially provides the government with a way to press ahead with its immunisation plans. It aims to vaccinate 40-million people, starting with 1.25-million health-care workers. Although the government has secured 9-million doses of J&J shots and is in talks for another 20-million, it cannot import or administer these supplies until the vaccine has been approved by regulators...

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