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Article by: Dumisane Dube

South Africa has put a hold on the rollout of the AstraZeneca COVID-19.

Scientific data released recently revealed that the vaccine offered “minimal protection” for people infected with the second variant of the coronavirus.

Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize held a briefing last night and announced that a team of experts would give guidance on the way forward with this vaccine.

According to the minister, a vaccine trial was not conducted when the vaccines were acquired beginning of February.

The clinical trial data from the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine study locally indicated that it had a 22% efficacy against the 501Y.V2 coronavirus variant.

Epidemiologist Professor Salim Abdool Karim said it would be reckless to discard the 1 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine that have already arrived in South Africa. The doses are likely to be useful at some point.

 “Vaccines are normally good for 6 months. The AstraZeneca vaccines from India arrived with an April expiry date, but talks are underway with the supplier to resolve the problem” said the department of health.

South Africa received the first batch, of 1 million vaccines, from the Serum Institute of India last week.

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