Foreign

COVID-19 : South Africa Variant Resistant to AstraZeneca Vaccine

South Africa has put its roll-out of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine on hold after a study showed “disappointing” results against its new Covid variant.

Scientists say the variant accounts for 90% of new Covid cases in South Africa.

The study, involving around 2,000 people, found the vaccine offered “minimal protection” against mild and moderate cases.

But experts say there is still hope that it will be effective in preventing severe infections.

South Africa has recorded more than 1.4 million cases of coronavirus and 46,000 deaths since the pandemic began, according to data collated by Johns Hopkins University. The country has received 1m doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab and was due to start vaccinating people next week.

Speaking at an online news conference on Sunday, South African Health Minister, Zweli Mkhize said his government would wait for further advice on how best to proceed with the AstraZeneca vaccine in light of the findings.

In the meantime, he said, the government will offer vaccines produced by Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer in the coming weeks.

BBC/NEWS

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