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SA reconsidering AstraZeneca shots for Delta variant

Four months after selling 1m of the doses.
Image: Anthony Devlin/Bloomberg

South Africa is considering buying more AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccines to combat the spread of the Delta variant of the illness, four months after selling 1 million of the doses.

The government may approach the Serum Institute of Indiafor the shots, Deputy Health Minister Joe Phaahla told lawmakers on Wednesday. Acquiring the vaccines could help bolster supplies as the health regulator considers approving Russia’s Sputnik V and China’s Sinovac inoculations, he said.

“I hope that we will still be able to access further stock from AstraZeneca from the Serum Institute,” Phaahla said. “That will go a long way while we are looking at the other sources.”

The government sold 1 million AstraZeneca doses to the African Union in March, after research showed the Beta variant then dominant in the country was resistant to the shot. The Delta variant first identified in India is currently running rampant in South Africa and is as much as 60% more transmissible than other strains, including the Beta variant, first identified in the African nation last year.

Data presented by the government on June 26 showed that the AstraZeneca vaccine has more than 70% efficacy against the Delta strain. In February, University of the Witwatersrand Professor of Vaccinology Shabir Madhi said vaccine had an efficacy of about 20% in preventing mild disease when dealing with the Beta virus.

“We don’t want to go back to the original argument of whether its limited efficacy on the Beta variant was correct, to dispose of it, to sell it to other countries,” Phaahla said. “With the current information that it is quite efficacious when it comes to the Delta, it is already registered.”

© 2021 Bloomberg

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“Shabir Madhi said vaccine had an efficacy of about 20% in preventing mild disease when dealing with the Beta virus”

ok, but surely we should instead look at its efficacy against serious disease and death. Who cares about mild disease.

Shabir Madhi also said it should be used regardless as it would prevent death and severe illness. If it was used as he suggested many lives would have been saved in the current third wave.

“We don’t want to go back to the original argument of whether its limited efficacy on the Beta variant was correct, to dispose of it, to sell it to other countries,” Phaahla said.

Basically – forget the scientific method and proper analysis. Just inject everyone regardless. A copout from those in charge you don’t want to be held accountable.

End of comments.

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