POLITICO- South Africa has suspended plans to inoculate its frontline health workers with the AstraZeneca vaccine after a small clinical trial suggested that it isn’t effective in preventing mild to moderate illness from the dominant variant in the country.
The suspension threw South Africa’s vaccination plans into disarray just one week after the country received its first one million doses of the vaccine.
Early results of a small clinical trial showed that the shot did not prevent mild to moderate cases of COVID-19 in young adults, according to an announcement by the University of Witwatersrand, which conducted the test.
The disappointing early results indicate that an inoculation drive using the AstraZeneca vaccine – which is cheaper and easier to handle than others – may not be useful.
Dean of South Africa’s school of nursing and public health Professor Mosa Moshabela said that among the possibilities being considered is giving Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine, which has not yet been authorized for use anywhere, to 100-thousand healthcare workers while monitoring its efficacy against the variant.
Officials said this virus variant is more contagious, and evidence is emerging that it may be more virulent; recent studies have also shown it can infect people who have survived the original form of the virus.
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