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South Africa Postpones Rollout of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 Vaccine Amid News of Minimal Protection Against Variant

· 02/07/2021 23:10

03:57 AM EST, 02/08/2021 (MT Newswires) -- South Africa will postpone the rollout of the AstraZeneca (AZN) COVID-19 vaccine after a study suggested that it offered "minimal protection" against mild cases caused by the variant first detected in the country, multiple media outlets reported.

Speaking at an online news conference, South African health minister Zweli Mkhize said the government will temporarily suspend the planned rollout of the vaccine co-developed with Oxford University to await more information about its efficacy. The country already has one million doses of the vaccine supposed to be administered to health care workers starting next week, the reports said.

The study, however, was small, involving 2,000 subjects who had an average age of 31, the reports said. It also has not been peer-reviewed.

Sarah Gilbert, the lead Oxford University vaccine developer, told the BBC that later this year, they likely will have a version of the vaccine that will tackle the South African variant.

Meanwhile, Mkhize said the South African government is planning to conduct inoculations with vaccines developed by Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) and Pfizer (PFE) in the coming weeks, BBC said.

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