Blow for healthcare workers as AstraZeneca’s vaccine rollout halted

Johannesburg – Healthcare workers who are at the frontline in the fight against Covid-19 will have to wait longer before being vaccinated after the AstraZeneca vaccine failed to clear the first hurdle.

Healthcare workers were supposed to be vaccinated as of Wednesday.
Health Minister Zweli Mkhize on Sunday said government would stop a planned rollout of AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine after a small clinical trial found that it doesn’t appear to protect recipients against mild and moderate illness from a new strain of the coronavirus first detected in the country.
“We procured AstraZeneca based on research which was done before the discovery of the variant. And we also went on the availability. The results on the new variant came out this week,” Mkhize said.
However, Mkhize said the vaccine will not be sent back ad scientists will be concluding studies linked to the efficacy.
President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday received one million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, produced by the Serum Institute of India, at Johannesburg’s O.R. Tambo airport.
The chairperson of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Covid-19 vaccines, Professor Barry Schoub said: “We can tolerate mild disease and do we want to prevent asymptotic disease because really those cases are the ones spreading the virus. We might to need to suspend AstraZeneca until we find effective use of the vaccine.”​

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