SA vaccine rollout in peril after ‘disappointing’ report


SA vaccine rollout in peril after ‘disappointing’ report

New research shows Oxford/AstraZeneca jab ‘fails to prevent mild and moderate Covid from SA strain’

Donato Paolo Mancini, Hannah Kuchler, David Pilling, Clive Cookson and Joseph Cotterill

Less than a week after the first million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine arrived in SA, a leading expert has suggested it should not yet be distributed.

One million doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine arrived at Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport last week, with the shots expected to be distributed to the country’s health-care workers as part of the first phase of SA’s vaccine rollout.

And while health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said the rollout would continue, it emerged at the weekend that the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine does not appear to offer protection against mild and moderate disease caused by the viral variant first identified in SA, according to a study due to be published on Monday. It is not yet fully known whether it is effective against “severe disease”, though an SA expert said it was likely it was...

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