- 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
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”.
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 BBC stated the new study was not yet peer-reviewed and involved about 2 000 people who were on average around 31 years old.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, Briefly.co.za 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.
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:
"I act like I'm okay but deep down I don't trust Covid-19 vaccines. #VaccineforSouthAfrica"
"What time is the vaccine landing. Are we going to welcome it, which artists are booked #VaccineforSouthAfrica"
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