After being urgently suspended due to unsatisfactory efficacy, the British AstraZeneca vaccine suddenly became a “thorny commodity” in South Africa. How to deal with the hoarded AstraZeneca vaccine has become a big problem for the South African Ministry of Health.
On the 10th local time, South African Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said that scientists are still studying how to deal with it. There are currently two options: resell or exchange vaccines with other countries; or use it for medical research.
In addition, South Africa will vaccinate its citizens against the coronavirus vaccine produced by Johnson & Johnson next week, and is in talks with China National Pharmaceutical Group on the purchase of a vaccine.
Mhez also revealed that the US Modena, Pfizer, and Russia’s “Sputnik V” vaccines are also on the list of consideration in South Africa.
According to Reuters, Associated Press and other media reported on the 10th, South Africa’s Health Minister MHz said at a press conference on the same day that he would vaccinate the country’s health workers against Johnson & Johnson from next week.
South African officials have previously said that the country has obtained 9 million doses of a single dose of vaccine produced by Johnson & Johnson.
Previously, South Africa had purchased 1 million doses of British AstraZeneca vaccine, which was valid for April 30.
However, research shows that AstraZeneca vaccine can only provide “minimum protection” for moderate and mild infections of Variant coronavirus found in South Africa, with only 10% effectiveness. To this end, South Africa announced a “suspension on the use of AstraZeneca vaccine in the country” on February 7.
As for how to deal with the idle AstraZeneca vaccine, Mkhz said that scientists are still studying how to deal with it, and there are two options: reselling or “exchanging” with other countries for another coronavirus vaccine; or using it for domestic medical research.
“Why don’t you sell AstraZeneca to other countries? This is an option… we will consider it.
First, our scientists will tell us what to do with it.
He said that if South Africa cannot use the vaccines before the expiration date, it will try to negotiate with the WHO Coronavirus Vaccine Implementation Plan (COVAX) to exchange them for other vaccines with other countries.
Because the price of the same vaccine varies around the world, it is not clear how the sale or swap will be carried out, or whether AstraZeneca in the United Kingdom and the Serum Institute of India, a vaccine manufacturer, agree to such a move.
At present, the two companies have declined to comment on Reuters.
It is worth mentioning that Johnson & Johnson vaccine is only approved for research in South Africa, and has not actually been authorized for wide use in any country, which has caused concern among some health workers.
But Mherz assured the public that Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine was safe. He noted that the vaccine has been tested on 44,000 people so far.
In addition, MHz said that in response to the severe epidemic ravaged by Variant viruses, the South African government vaccinated about 40 million people against the novel coronavirus by the end of this year, accounting for about two-thirds of the country’s population.
To this end, the South African Ministerial Advisory Committee will give a thoughtful opinion on how to deal with the AstraZeneca vaccine in the next week or two.
He added that the government has also obtained doses for health workers from Pfizer in the United States, and is in talks with other vaccine manufacturers such as China National Pharmaceutical Group on the purchase of vaccines.
According to the South African media “news 24” on the 10th, Mkhz only said that South Africa planned to buy 2 million doses of vaccine from China National Pharmaceutical Group, but did not disclose more details because of the “closed agreement” between the two sides.
“We [the health department] are dealing with the price and are also applying to the Health Products Administration,” he said.
Mkhez also revealed that the US Modela, Pfizer, and Russia’s “Sputnik V” vaccines are also on the South African list of consideration.” We have entered the late stage of evaluating and contacting Russian vaccine manufacturers, and contact with the national pharmaceutical group will continue.”
According to real-time statistics from Johns Hopkins University in the United States, as of February 11, Beijing time, the total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in South Africa has approached 1.5 million, reaching 1482,412, and the cumulative number of deaths is 47,145.
At present, a variety of variant viruses have appeared in South Africa, including 501.
V2 Variant plant. Data from multiple trials suggest that variants of the virus found in South Africa could adversely affect the effectiveness of the coronavirus vaccine.