South Africa has suspended the start of its COVID-19 vaccinations with the AstraZeneca injection after a study showed the drug failed to prevent mild and moderate cases of the virus variant that has appeared in the country.
Africa’s hardest-hit nation was due to start its campaign in the coming days with a million doses of the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford.
The University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, which conducted the trial, said in a statement on Sunday that the AstraZeneca vaccine “provides minimal protection against mild-moderate Covid-19 infection” from the South African variant.
Earlier this month, Government of Uganda approved the purchase of 18 million more doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine from the Serum Institute of India. This meant that Uganda will be receiving a total of 37 million doses of the Astra Zeneca vaccine.
The approved purchase of the vaccine will be used to vaccinate the elderly, people with underlying health issues, health workers, and security personnel among other essential social service providers.