South Africa Faces Serious Setback in Its Astrazeneca Vaccination Campaign - Government Turns to Plan B


Last week one million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine arrived in South Africa to much fanfare and triggered a wave of hope that the country's stalled Covid-19 vaccination programme was now ready to commence with frontline healthcare workers as the first priority. However, in a serious setback, two issues have emerged that mean it is now unlikely that the AstraZeneca vaccines will be used at all - at this stage.

On Saturday night an article in the UK's Financial Times leaked results of efficacy trials of the AstraZeneca vaccine on participants in South Africa where the 501Y.V2 variant of SARS-Cov-2 is dominant.

A report on this trial's outcome was due to be released in South Africa on Monday by the University of the Witwatersrand's Prof Shabir Madhi, the trial's principal investigator.

The Financial Times headlines its story, "Oxford/AstraZeneca jab fails to prevent mild and moderate Covid from South African strain, study shows". The newspaper claims that in trials: "the jab showed significantly reduced efficacy against the 501Y.V2 viral variant, which is dominant in South Africa, according to the randomised, double-blind study ... "

Don't want to see ads?

Then, quoting directly from the study: "A two-dose regimen of [the vaccine]...

AllAfrica publishes around 500 reports a day from more than 100 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.