South Africa has temporarily suspended the rollout of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine after new studies released last week showed that it is less effective against the mutated SARS-CoV-2 501Y.V2 variant, which is common in South Africa.
On 1 February, the country received its first shipment of one million Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine doses out of the 1.5 million procured from the Serum Institute of India (SII).
Last night, Health Minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize and a panel of 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 they conducted a study using 2 000 participants, aged between 18 and 65 years.
According to research, the vaccine showed “tremendous potential” before the new variant began spreading.
Madhi said just 14 days after taking the first of two jabs, participants showed a 75% lesser likelihood of becoming infected with COVID-19.