TASK is pleased to be part of Sisonke, the first phase of COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout to health workers initiated by national government. South Africa secured the single dose Johnson & Johnson (JnJ) vaccine for use in the Sisonke (‘Together’) programme. This vaccine will be rolled out to up to 500,000 healthcare workers starting in 18 public sector hospitals across all nine provinces.

Pictured here is the efficient set up at Karl Bremer Hospital with TASK pharmacists and study personnel preparing the vaccine.

The single dose JnJ vaccine protects against severe COVID-19 in South Africa. The safety and efficacy of the vaccine was assessed in the international Phase 3 study, ENSEMBLE, which was conducted across Latin America, USA and South Africa with more than 43 000 participants. TASK contributed to the total of around 7,000 South African trial participants between October 2020 and February 2021, including participants who were exposed to the 501.V2 variant. The long-term follow-up of study participants is still ongoing, as is required for the process of regulatory approval by the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) for commercial or emergency use. However, since the safety and efficacy of the vaccine has already been proven, the current rollout is being conducted under The Sisonke Open Label Program, to assess real world effectiveness among health care workers, who have already been prioritised for vaccination by the South African Government’s Covid-19 Vaccination Strategy.