AstraZeneca Vaccine Halted Due to Low Efficacy Against New Strain

AstraZeneca Vaccine Halted Due to Low Efficacy Against New Strain

- The rollout of the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine has been temporarily put on hold

- Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize along with Professor Salim Abdool Karm spoke at a media briefing on Sunday night

- The vaccine has a 22% efficacy against the 501Y.V2 variant of Covid-19 which is currently dominating SA

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The South African health department has temporarily stopped the rollout of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. The vaccine rollout was stopped after a new study showed that the vaccine is not very effective against the 501Y.V2 Covid-19 variant.

Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize announced on Sunday evening that a team of experts would soon give guidance on the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. Mkhize was part of a panel of experts that hosted a media briefing which outlined new developments in SA's vaccine rollout.

Professor Salim Abdool Karim, one of South Africa’s leading Covid-19 experts, said the new research about the vaccine does not spell “doom and gloom”.

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AstraZeneca vaccine rollout, stopped, ineffective against new strain

Prof Abdool Karim said the pausing of the vaccine rollout does not bring 'doom and gloom', this comes days after Ramaphosa received the vaccine. Image: Rajesh Jantilal, Alain Jocard & Simon Dawson
Source: Getty Images

A report by EWN confirmed that local clinical trial data from the vaccine study for the Oxford/AstraZeneca revealed that it had a mere 22% efficacy against the 501Y.V2 Covid-19 variant dominating the country.

CNN reported that Dr Mkhize said that SA would move forward with the Pfizer/BioNtech and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. BBC stated the new study was not yet peer-reviewed and involved about 2 000 people who were on average around 31 years old.

At the beginning of the month, reported that President Cyril Ramaphosa received the first consignment of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. Deputy President David Mabuza accompanied Ramaphosa at OR Tambo International Airport.

The first 1 million doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine had arrived from India. News24, at the time, reported that the vaccine doses will be stored and tested before mass rollout through Biovac and other distributors.

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While a few expressed relief that the vaccine will be here soon, many others, however, expressed reluctance to take the vaccine. A lot of them remarked that government officials should try the vaccine before it is sent out to the public. Read a few of their tweets below:

@KinqBozziSA said:

"I act like I'm okay but deep down I don't trust Covid-19 vaccines. #VaccineforSouthAfrica"

@kgala_letso joked:

"What time is the vaccine landing. Are we going to welcome it, which artists are booked #VaccineforSouthAfrica"

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