This vaccine provides minimal protection against mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms from the South African variant.
President Cyril Ramaphosa’s administration decided to halt AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine roll-out in South Africa after it failed to stop the local strain.
“Suspending the vaccine that's not effective against the country's dominant coronavirus variant is the right decision,” commented Angelique Coetzee, Chairperson of South African Medical Association.
"We welcome the move to put the roll-out plan of the vaccine on hold, we hope the process of accelerating the procurement and the roll-out of J&J and Pfizer vaccines and the approval of these will be expedited," Democratic Nursing Organization of South Africa (DENOSA) Secretary Cassim Lekhoathi said.
On Sunday, the Ramaphosa administration announced that the AstraZeneca vaccine provides minimal protection against mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms from variant first discovered in South Africa.
Thread summarising an important presentation on the AstraZeneca trial results for South Africa.— Dr Zoë Hyde (@DrZoeHyde) February 8, 2021
➡️ Efficacy initially seemed to be ~75%, but dropped to 22% against SA ���� variant.
➡️ Past COVID-19 (original) doesn't protect against reinfection by the SA ���� variant. pic.twitter.com/3HSaHl87n3
As a result, it decided to halt the rolling out of the vaccine and to use the Johnson & Johnson or Pfizer COVID -19 vaccine instead.
"The most important thing was to find an alternative to ensure our plan doesn't derail, we've been able to achieve that partly," Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said.
South Africa has reached out to other companies, "so that we can bring forward the Johnson and Johnson vaccine which we have ordered from them and we are also going to bring forward the Pfizer vaccine. The issue for us is that the vaccination program continues," he added.