Mon, 8 February 2021, 7:28 am
LONDON (Reuters) – There is no evidence that the Astrazeneca vaccine does not prevent death or serious illness, and South Africa has only imposed a temporary halt on using the vaccine, a British junior health minister said on Monday.
South Africa will put on hold use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 shot in its vaccination programme after data showed it gave minimal protection against mild-to-moderate infection caused by the country’s dominant coronavirus variant.
“There is no evidence that this vaccine is not effective in preventing hospitalisation and severe illness and death, which ultimately is what we’re seeking with these vaccines today,” Britain’s Edward Argar told Sky.
“The dominant strains in this country are not the South African strain, there are a small number of cases of that, the dominant strains here are the historic one we’ve had, and then the Kent variant, against which this vaccine is highly effective.”
(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge and Kate Holton; editing by Michael Holden)