South Africa has decided to suspend the rollout of the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine pending when it is properly advised by experts on the best way to proceed.
This was disclosed by the Health Minister, Zweli Mkhize, after trial data showed the vaccine developed by the drug maker, AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford offered only limited protection against coronavirus variant first identified in South Africa.
According to Mkhize, “When new information is brought to light and viruses change and mutate, decisions need to be made. This is possibly why the AstraZeneca vaccine rollout is on hold for now. In the next few weeks, South Africa will have the J&J and Pfizer vaccine.”
What you should know
- South Africa had planned to roll the Oxford/AstraZeneca shot out to healthcare workers.
- The University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg recently conducted a trial of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine and stated that the vaccine provides minimal protection against the new variant, which is dominant in South Africa.
According to a report by Aljazeera:
- “AstraZeneca said none of the 2,000 participants near the age of 31 developed serious symptoms. That could mean it will still have an effect on severe disease, although there is not yet enough data to make a definitive judgment.
- “The company has started adapting its vaccine against the variant and will advance rapidly through clinical development so that it is ready for autumn delivery should it be needed.”
In the alternative, South Africa intends to offer vaccines developed by Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and Pfizer in the coming weeks while experts consider how the AstraZeneca shot can be deployed.