Health Minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize, together with other leading experts held a media briefing on 7 February 2021, outlining important updates on South Africa’s vaccine acquisition strategy.
Professor of Vaccinology at Wits University, Shabir Madhi, said that a vaccine trial done by his team found that there is no proof of the vaccine’s full efficacy against the local variant of Covid-19.
Madhi says that up until the end of October 2020, the vaccine showed ‘potential’ and individuals who took a single dose were 75% less likely to be infected.
However, the emergence of the 501.V2 variant in South Africa means that the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is not as effective.
“When we analysed individuals in terms of how well the vaccine worked against the variant, there was very little difference between the vaccine group and placebo group,” Madhi said.
“However Covid vaccines really remain the only sustainable option of reducing risk of severe disease and death.”