South African Health Ministry announced on Wednesday that it has decided to stop AstraZeneca vaccine rollout. The government decided to move to other options as a recent efficacy study conducted on the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine has revealed that the vaccine could have potentially limited effects against the new variant of the COVID-19 virus found in South Africa.
"Given the outcomes of the efficacy studies [the government] will continue with the planned phase one vaccination using the Johnson & Johnson vaccines instead of the AstraZeneca vaccine," Health Minister ZweliMkhize informed a press briefing on Wednesday.
However no date has been announced for the new immunisation schedule which is raising fresh fears in the population of a country that was already late to begin localised vaccine production.
Stores of the AstraZeneca vaccine sourced from India would be sold or swapped before the expiry date in April Mkhize added.
The Johnson and Johnson vaccine is claimed to have greater efficacy against the 501Y.V2 COVID-19 variant with the South African trials showing 89 percent efficiency at preventing severe disease and 57 percent effective against moderate to severe disease.