JOHANNESBURG, 8 February 2021 – South African public health officials halted the use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in inoculations against COVID-19.
The decision follows initial assessment by experts which concluded that the vaccine was not as effective against the South African variant of the virus.
Vaccination was supposed to kick off next week in the country following receipt last week of one million doses of the vaccine.
World Health Organization officials have pointed out that all is not lost, given that the vaccine is still effective in preventing severe illness, limiting the number of people who would need hospitalization and curbing fatalities.
South Africa’s health minister has said local scientist are working on how to repurpose the vaccine to help the country obtain the most out of them.
South Africa has recorded 1.48 million cases of the new coronavirus, the most by any African country, with 46,290 deaths and 1.36 million full recoveries, according to data last updated Monday by Johns Hopkins University.