SA asks India to ‘take back’ our one million AstraZeneca vaccines – report

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Media reports in India have claimed that the South African Government has finally given up the ghost on the AstraZeneca vaccines, with officials electing to return the jabs this week. Despite recording fantastic results across the world, AZ struggles to prevent infections caused by the 501Y.V2 variant that has become dominant in South Africa.

South Africa to return AstraZeneca vaccines to India

For what it’s worth, the AstraZeneca solution was successful at preventing severe cases of COVID-19, and remained effective in reducing mortality rates. However, its impact on mild and moderate cases is minimal, preventing illness in just 22% of the patients sampled. The Economic Times of India has confirmed that SA is looking to return these shots.

The Serum Institute of India, which produces the AstraZeneca vaccines, is expected to collect the consignment. The jabs can then be redistributed to countries where the SA variant isn’t dominant, reducing transmission in a more effective manner. The good news for South Africans, however, is that other major inoculations are now on their way to our shores.

Where our next jabs will come from

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Both Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson are set to send millions of vaccines to South Africa, with the first batch of treatments expected to arrive imminently. As confirmed during SONA 2021, a total of 21 million doses will be provided by these companies – with COVAX handing out an extra amount to bolster SA’s vaccine drive.

It seems the vaccination programme, due to rollout in the first half of February, will only be held up by a total of two weeks. It’s far from ideal, but also, it’s not a complete disaster. Meanwhile, AstraZeneca will continue to develop a ‘booster shot’ that is much more capable of tacking the mutation first discovered in Mzansi.

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