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AstraZeneca vaccine rollout out halted, jab less effective against new strain

8 February 2021 7:16 AM
Tags:
vaccine
AstraZeneca vaccine

Rollout out of AstraZeneca vaccine put on hold after trial suggests jab is efficacy against new Covid-19 variant is low.

Government's vaccine rollout has suffered a setback after experts discovered the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine was substantially less effective in protecting against the new 501Y.V2 variant of Covid-19.

On Sunday evening, health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize and a panel of leading experts hosted a media briefing to outline new developments in South Africa’s Covid-19 vaccine acquisition and rollout programme.

Professor Shabir Madhi, who led the clinical trial of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine candidate locally, said that while the vaccine had initially showed “tremendous potential” against the previous dominant strain, results against the new strain were 'disappointing.'

One million doses of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine arrived at OR Tambo airport last week from India.

The results mean that the rollout out of the vaccine is being put on hold, however according to Professor Salim Abdool Karim, one of South Africa’s leading COVID-19 experts, the findings do not spell “doom and gloom”.

The Pfizer and Moderna seem to do “reasonably well” against the 501Y.V2 variant and Johnson&Johnson vaccine could still be a plausible choice for rollout.

Click below to watch the media briefing from Sunday evening:

Following the arrival of the vaccines from India last week, government’s Electronic Vaccination Data System officially went online.

The first phase of the rollout programme is reserved for healthworkers, by according to the health minister, 34 000 healthworkers from the public and private sector had registered via the portal by Wednesday.

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8 February 2021 7:16 AM
Tags:
vaccine
AstraZeneca vaccine

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