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JOHANNESBURG, June 23 (Reuters) – The South African health regulator said on Wednesday that it had received documentation for China’s Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine and will assess the data to assess the effectiveness of the vaccine.

Now in the throes of a third wave of infections, South Africa is inoculating its population with Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer vaccines, but rollout has been slow in part due to supply cuts.

It has vaccinated just over 2 million people, or 3.6% of its population, one of the lowest rates in the world.

Authorities have come under pressure from the radical South African opposition party, the Economic Freedom Fighters, to allow the use of Russian and Chinese vaccines to speed up vaccinations.

The South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) said it has received documentation for the Sinopharm vaccine.

“SAHPRA will now start by evaluating the data to assess the effectiveness of the vaccine,” he said in a statement. (Report by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo edited by Mark Heinrich)

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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