BRAZZAVILLE, 11 February 2021 – African countries should continue to inoculate against COVID-19 using the AstraZeneca vaccine, the leading African health institution has said.

“We will not be walking away from AstraZeneca vaccines at all,” said John Nkengasong, director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC).

The AstraZeneca vaccine has shown limited efficacy against the South African strain of the virus.

Dr. John N. Nkengasong - Photo Devex

Africa CDC Director, Dr. John N. Nkengasong – Photo Devex

South Africa Halts AstraZeneca Vaccines - Photo USA Today

South Africa Halts AstraZeneca Vaccines – Photo USA Today

It offered “minimal protection” against mild and moderate cases of the South African variant, according to the findings of a study on about 2,000 healthy young people aged 31 years on average.

The South African strain has now been detected in six other African countries: Botswana, Comoros, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique and Zambia.

In recommending continued use of the vaccine, Africa CDC said it will prevent severe illness requiring hospitalization as well as prevent loss of life in countries where it is not the dominant strain.

South African announced Tuesday that it was halting plans to inoculate using the AstraZeneca vaccine.

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