South Africa seeks new vaccine plan after halting AstraZeneca

Coronavirus
CORRECTION South Africa Virus Outbreak Vaccines

CORRECTS NURSE DRAWS BLOOD FROM COVID-19 TEST VACCINE PATIENT- Blood is drawn from a clinical trials patient patient for the AstraZeneca test vaccine at the University of Witwatersrand’ Soweto’s Chris Sani Baragwanath Hospital facility outside Johannesburg Nov. 30, 2020. South Africa is scrambling to come up with a new vaccination strategy to combat COVID-19 following its suspension of the rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine, after a preliminary test showed weak results in protecting the variant dominant in this country. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — South Africa is considering giving a COVID-19 vaccine that is still in the testing phase to health workers, after suspending the rollout of another shot that preliminary data indicated may be only minimally effective against the mutated form of the virus dominating the country.

The country was scrambling Monday to come up with a new vaccination strategy after it halted the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Among the possibilities being considered: mixing the AstraZeneca vaccine with another one or giving Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine, which has not yet been authorized for use anywhere, to 100,000 health care workers while monitoring its efficacy against the variant.

According to The Associated Press, the abrupt halt comes after preliminary results showed the vaccine reacted minimally against mild/moderate disease caused by the variant.

The AP reported that 46,000 people have died from the variant.

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