Covid: South Africa halts AstraZeneca vaccine rollout over new variant
South Africa has put its rollout of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine on hold after a study showed “disappointing” results against its new Covid variant.
Scientists say the variant accounts for 90% of new Covid cases in South Africa.
The trial, involving some 2,000 people, found that the vaccine offered “minimal protection” against mild and moderate cases.
But experts are hopeful that the vaccine will still be effective at preventing severe cases.
South Africa has recorded almost 1.5 million coronavirus cases and more than 46,000 deaths since the pandemic began – a higher toll than any other country on the continent.
The country has received one million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab and was preparing to start vaccinating people.
Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said his government would wait for further advice on how best to proceed with the AstraZeneca vaccine in light of the findings.