Global RiskNews Briefs

South Africa scraps AstraZeneca, pivots to Johnson & Johnson vaccine

South Africa is giving up its stock of Oxford-AstaZeneca Covid-19 vaccines to the African Union and instead is seeking to vaccinate its population with the single-dose Johnson & Johnson drug. The changes in the Covid-19 vaccination policy come after the AstraZeneca vaccine proved to offer minimal protection against the variant of the virus that emerged in South Africa last year, according to preliminary trial data. The African Union will likely distribute the vaccine doses to other countries that have an interest in the stock and are not witnessing infections of the South African strain.

Rumors are circulating that the vaccine doses were expired and therefore not effective in preventing infection. People were speculating that the vaccines, which were purchased from the Serum Institute of India (SII), were being returned to the country. These rumors are not true, according to South African Health Minister Zweli Mkhize. The limited efficacy of the AstraZeneca vaccine was “disappointing” to South Africa, says Mkhize. He affirmed to the population that the country would not be derailed from its commitment to being administering vaccines in February.

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