- AstraZeneca info that came out is a setback. It now needs to be communicated properly by WHO and CDC.
Mbabane: EswatiniMinister of Health Lizzie Nkosi says the AstraZeneca information that came out is a set back and the country will continue to engage with other vaccine candidates.
This comes after South Africa has suspended plans to inoculate its front-line health care workers with the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine after a small clinical trial suggested that it isn’t effective in preventing mild to moderate illness from the variant dominant in the country.
Eswatini had recently reported that there were possibilities of the new variant of COVID-19 known as the 501Y.V2 judging from the country’s proximity South Africa. This variant is believed to make the coronavirus more contagious than older before.
“Due to our proximity with South Africa who has confirmed the new variant it leads that the country is also facing similar challenges,” said Nkosi.
The 501Y.V2 variant is 50% more transmissible than the previous variants of the COVID-19, this basically means that it transmits at a much faster rate but this does not suggest that it is more severe when compared to older variants of the virus.
She said the risk of death is similar to the older variants it is just that this variant is spreading faster and more likely to reach more of the vulnerable population than the older variant.
In an interview with this publication on Monday morning, Nkosi said the AstraZeneca info that came out is a setback. It now needs to be communicated properly by WHO and CDC.
“As a country we continue to engage with other candidates as we were,” said Nkosi.
The minister said just today (Monday) the country learnt that the Johnson and Johnson candidate responds well to the new variant, with 85% efficacy.
South African publication, Eyewitness News reported on Monday that it has emerged that Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine has shown 85% efficacy against severe or critical cases of COVID-19.
“That is good news, we will continue our engagement with them.”
Unlike Pfizer’s and Moderna’s vaccines, which require two doses given about three to four weeks apart, J&J’s medication only requires one dose, easing logistics for health-care providers.
When asked about the government’s roll-out plan, Nkosi said the country’s vaccination roll out plan is flexible because there were no dates of any of the other vaccines.
“We had commitment from covax for AstraZeneca by end Feb. But have no dates for the AU deliveries of pfeizer, Johnson & Johnson, and what will become of the AstraZeneca,” said Nkosi.