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South Africa to Receive 20 Million Doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine

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Jenna Delport
Jenna Delport
I’m a tech writer, world traveller, avocado-eater and dog lover, not always in that order.

Pfizer is set to distribute 20 million doses of its COVID-19 Vaccine to South Africa – starting mid-April. This comes after the pharmaceutical company managed to resolve contractual conditions that weren’t in line with South Africa’s normal procurement policies, revealed Department of Health deputy director-general, Anban Pillay.

According to Bloomberg, the Pfizer-BioNTech version will be “used to kick-start the rollout after a decision not to use AstraZeneca Plc’s shot, which was found to offer little protection against mild forms of COVID-19 in a local trial”.

AstraZeneca Vaccine Only ‘Minimally Effective’ Against South African COVID-19 Variant, says Researcher

The AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine has proven ‘minimally effective’ against the South African variant, according to the Wits Vaccines and Infectious Diseases Analytics (VIDA) research unit.

So far, South Africa has received one million doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.

In an official report, researchers from South Africa and the UK found that “viral neutralisation by sera induced by the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 coronavirus vaccine against the B.1.351 coronavirus variant were substantially reduced when compared with the ‘original’ strain of the coronavirus”.

Professor of Vaccinology at the University of Oxford, Sarah Gilbert revealed that efforts are already underway to develop a new generation of vaccines that could offer protection from emerging variants as booster jabs.

“We are working with AstraZeneca to optimise the pipeline required for a strain change should one become necessary. This is the same issue that is faced by all of the vaccine developers, and we will continue to monitor the emergence of new variants that arise in readiness for a future strain change.”

Edited by Jenna Delport
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