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Africans urged to roll out AstraZeneca

Most countries in Africa should still roll out the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, despite concerns over its use against a coronavirus variant that emerged in South Africa, the continent’s health agency says.

“We will not be walking away from AstraZeneca vaccines at all,” John Nkengasong, director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), said.

The variant had now been found in six other African countries — Botswana, Comoros, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique and Zambia, Dr Nkengasong said.

But with no evidence that it was dominant in any of those countries, he advised them and other African nations to still use the vaccine.

South Africa has delayed the start of its vaccination campaign, which was due to start this week.

The decision was taken after a trial on around 2,000 healthy, young people with an average age of 31 showed the AstraZeneca jabs offered “minimal protection” against mild and moderate cases of the new variant.— BBC.

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