Don’t dismiss AstraZeneca vaccine, yet: WHO
The comment came after South Africa announced that it was delaying its inoculation programme following concerns over AstraZeneca's efficacy against a virus variant.
The World Health Organization has warned against dismissing AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine after concerns over its efficacy against specific strains of the coronavirus. Despite several noted setbacks, the international body has explained that the vaccine remains an important, life-saving tool, AFP reported.
On Monday, the World Health Organization explained that the AstraZeneca vaccine was a 'vital tool in the global fight against the coronavirus' pandemic. This comment came after South Africa delayed the start of its inoculation programme over concerns about its efficacy against a virus variant
“It is vastly too early to be dismissing this vaccine,” said Richard Hatchett, who heads the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI). The CEPI co-leads the Covax vaccine facility with the WHO and Gavi after the AstraZeneca shot ran into a number of setbacks, including questions about its efficacy for over-65s, the Guardian said.
"It also seems increasingly clear that manufacturers will have to adjust to the evolution of the #COVID19 virus, taking into account the latest variants for future shots, including boosters"-@DrTedros— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) February 8, 2021
“It is absolutely crucial to use the tools that we have as effectively as we possibly can,” he said, speaking at the WHO’s regular bi-weekly press briefing on COVID-19
AstraZeneca is currently a part of Covax, which was established to obtain Covid-19 vaccines and ensure their equitable distribution, worldwide.
Though AstraZeneca accounts for 337.2 million vaccine doses which will be shipped, post support, o nearly 150 countries, a study in Johannesburg has raised questions about its efficacy. A trial at the University of Witwatersrand found that the vaccine provided only “minimal” protection against mild to moderate Covid-19 caused by the variant first detected in South Africa. Following this Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said on Sunday that the South African government would await advice from scientists on how best to proceed and put on hold the start of the inoculation process using AstraZeneca.
"We also need to continue designing and conducting new trials, and we need to keep a close eye on the impact vaccines are having on epidemiology, severe #COVID19 disease and death so we can use vaccines to maximum effect"-@DrTedros #ACTogether— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) February 8, 2021
However, AstraZeneca on Saturday has said that it believed its vaccine could protect against COVID-19 strains and that it had already started adapting it against the 501Y.V2 variant found in South Africa.