MOSCOW, 8 Feb – RIA Novosti. The South African authorities have decided to stop the implementation of the plan to vaccinate the population with the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine for now, as the study showed its low effectiveness against the South African strain (B.1.351), said the country's Minister of Health Zveli Mkhize.
Earlier it was reported that the AstraZeneca vaccine hardly protects against mild to moderate forms of the disease caused by the “South African” strain of the coronavirus. The study was carried out by specialists from the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa and the University of Oxford. Clinical trials of the vaccine in South Africa were conducted on a group of 2026 people. The results were reported by the Financial Times, and the study itself is due to be published on Monday.
During a press conference, Professor Shabir Madhi said the study results, which indicate less efficacy of the AstraZeneca vaccine against the strain, are “disappointing.” “We will have the AstraZeneca vaccine … until scientists make it clear that we are should do … What does this mean for our vaccination program, which we launched in February? The answer is there will be. From next week and for four weeks, we expect to have Johnson & Johnson vaccines, Pfizer vaccines. these vaccines are available, “the minister said during a press conference, reports the Independent Online portal.
Mkhize noted that the research committee will decide whether to vaccinate with AstraZeneca while the vaccination plan with the vaccine is frozen.
South Africa previously received a million doses of vaccine from the Serum Institute of India, which was testing the AstraZeneca vaccine in India. Mkhize noted that South Africa purchased AstraZeneca when the test results had not yet been published and the authorities relied on the availability of vaccines.