S Africa suspends launch of Oxford vaccinations over efficacy concerns
Published 11:36 pm | February 08, 2021
Online desk ; South Africa has said it would suspend the start of its COVID-19 vaccinations with the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab after a study showed the drug failed to prevent mild and moderate cases of the virus variant that has appeared in Africa’s hardest-hit nation, reports AFP.
South Africa was due to start its campaign in the coming days with a million doses of the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford.
The suspension marks an important setback for the country, but officials said vaccine deliveries from other producers would soon be available and allow the campaign to move forward.
“It’s a temporary issue that we have to hold on AstraZeneca until we figure out these issues,” Health Minister Zweli Mkhize told reporters during a virtual press conference.
The University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, which conducted the trial, said in a statement on Sunday that the AstraZeneca vaccine “provides minimal protection against mild-moderate Covid-19 infection” from the South African variant.
But in a full paper due to be published on Monday, AstraZeneca said that none of the 2,000 participants developed serious symptoms.
That could mean it will still have an effect on severe illness, although not enough data is available yet to make a definitive judgment.
Lagging behind in the global vaccination race, South Africa received its first delivery of a million doses on Monday.
An additional 500,000 doses are expected this month.
All are AstraZeneca vaccines produced by the Serum Institute of India, and some 1.2 million health workers were to be first in line for the shots.
“In the next four weeks, we will have the J&J and Pfizer,” said Mkhize, referring to vaccines made by Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer/BioNTech.
Discussions with other vaccine producers are also ongoing, particularly Moderna and the makers of the Russian Sputnik V jab.
দৈনিক সময় সংবাদ ২৪ ডট কম সংবাদের কোনো সংবাদ, তথ্য, ছবি,আলোকচত্রি, ভিডিওচিত্র, অডিও কনটেন্ট কপিরাইট আইনে র্পূব অনুমতি ছাড়া ব্যবহার করা সর্ম্পূণ বেআইনি। সামাজিক যোগাযোগ মাধ্যমে যে কোন কমেন্সের জন্য কর্তৃপক্ষ দায়ী নয়।