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  • well.

  • South Africa has suspended its rollout of the Oxford AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine after a small clinical trials suggested that it offered only minimal protection against mild to moderate illness from the covert variant that originated in the country.

  • South Africa received more than a million doses of the vaccine and had planned to start inoculating frontline health care workers in the coming days.

  • Authorities say that the vaccination program will proceed in the coming weeks, but with vaccines by by Johnson and Johnson and Pfizer by on tech instead, let's get more.

  • We are joined by Professor Salim Abdul Karim.

  • He is South Africa's leading infectious disease specialist and one of the chief medical advisers to the South African government.

  • Thank you so much for your time this afternoon, sir.

  • Why suspend the AstraZeneca vaccine rollout Isn't limited protection better than zero protection?

  • Good afternoon.

  • So when we developed our overall vaccine strategy, we always wanted to have a diversity off candidates, and so AstraZeneca was one off the candidates we selected, based on the evidence that was available that showed it was effective against both mild and severe disease, including hospitalization.

  • However, the study that was just published that was just released yesterday showed that the efficacy against mild disease, eyes quite low and that's supported by laboratory evidence is well.

  • Now we are uncertain about whether the AstraZeneca vaccine also prevents severe disease and hospitalization against the 51 y V two variant that is prevalent in South Africa.

  • And so, in that kind of uncertainty, we thought it prudent to put a delay on the rollout off the AstraZeneca vaccine until we can establish the processes to collect the information to face this.

  • Okay, um, and there has been some reaction we have to say to that decision.

  • Professor Sara Gilbert, for example, Oxfords, lead vaccine developer.

  • She said that the vaccine should still protect against severe disease, that she is at least optimistic that that is still the case.

  • Um, in the meantime, we mentioned your your front line workers, your healthcare workers.

  • They were first in line to get this vaccine, and that was supposed to happen in the in the coming days.

  • So what do you tell them now that it's on hold?

  • Given that they are facing that risk on a daily basis, of course, I wouldn't expect the investigators to say anything negative about their product, but the reality is that speculation doesn't help us.

  • We need evidence, and the way in which we propose to collect that evidence is to actually roll out the AstraZeneca vaccine in a step wise manner where the first group that gets the vaccine, we would assess hospitalization rates.

  • And if we find it's below the threshold and we will continue the roll out of the AstraZeneca vaccine if we find it's above, that threshold will stop the AstraZeneca vaccine because we would like the approach that we take to be based on evidence we would wouldn't want to see us rolling this out to healthcare workers, only to find out later it doesn't prevent hospitalization and severe disease.

  • As for the health care workers, we have managed to secure some doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, and those will start to be rolled out within the next week or two.

  • So it's we haven't really impacted that much on our initial starting date.

  • What we have impacted is our scale up.

  • We now have to take a more prudent approach to scale up while we scaling up the Johnson and Johnson vaccine we will, in parallel also be doing so with the AstraZeneca to assess its efficacy against hospitalization.

  • Just briefly tell us what makes you think that the other vaccines will have better results.

  • So as it stands right now, the Johnson and Johnson vaccine has actually been studied in South Africa in a very large trial that included the elderly as well.

  • And so they already have evidence to show that against the variant in South Africa, known as five or one y V two that the Johnson and Johnson vaccine is efficacious against that.

  • And it's 85% efficacious against hospitalization and severe disease.

  • So on that basis, we feel quite confident to move forward with the Johnson and Johnson.

  • We do, however, want to ensure we have a diversity of products, and so we do need to assess its affected the efficacy of each new vaccine, whether it's AstraZeneca or FISA, all of those will have to be assessed as part of the rollout.

  • And while you are assessing that efficacy, I just like to ask you because I mean, you know, your hold of the rollout of the AstraZeneca has a lot of people nervous because it could potentially, you know, have wide ranging consequences for other initiatives.

  • Um, do you suggest that other countries should follow South Africa's example?

  • Because, for example, this particular vaccine is a major component of the initial Kovacs global vaccine rollout, which covers, you know, about 150 countries around the world, mostly with lower on and lower middle income economies.

  • Yeah, I think each country will have to make its own decision Right now.

  • South Africa is in a slightly different position because the fiber one Wife V two variant, which is the variant that is able to escape immunity, constitutes about 80 to 90% of our circulating virus.

  • So our situation is different.

  • Our decisions should not really apply to other centers and other countries unless they also have a dominance off the same variant.

  • So our decision is variant related.

  • It's not related to the specifics off the vaccine there.

  • There there are other challenges with the AstraZeneca vaccine, the availability of safety data in the elderly and so on.

  • So those are issues that need to be resolved by regulators.

  • From our point of view, we need to know the vaccine is efficacious in preventing people from getting severe illness and that's what we're waiting for.

  • We thank you so much for joining us to walk us through the decision making process and the plans going forward.

  • South Africa's leading infectious disease specialist, Salim Abdelkarim.

  • We appreciate it.

  • Thank you, Please him.

  • Let's take a look at some other developments in the coronavirus pandemic.

  • World Health Organization experts are meeting in Geneva to discuss the AstraZeneca vaccine following its suspension in South Africa.

  • The shot is a major part of global vaccine roll out plans as we've just heard.

  • Authorities in South Korea's capital Seoul, have launched a testing program for pet cats and dogs after the country reported its first cove in 19 case in a kitten.

  • Tests will be limited to pets showing symptoms of the virus who have been exposed to someone who tested positive, and the U.

  • S has passed 27 million cases of the coronavirus, the highest number in the world.

  • This as President Joe Biden warns, it will be difficult to vaccinate 75% of the population and achieve herd immunity by the end of the summer.


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South Africa suspends rollout of Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine | DW News

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    林宜悉 posted on 2021/02/08
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