Confusion about South Africa’s response to AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine

News is spreading that South Africa paused use of AstraZeneca-Oxford’s COVID-19 vaccine after a small-scale, unpublished study found it was less effective at preventing mild to moderate disease from the B1351 variant strain, dominant in South Africa. Misinformation is circulating that the vaccine is ineffective against all strains of the virus. Research studies are under way to confirm these preliminary findings, and to study the vaccine’s effectiveness in older adults, as some European countries the study’s earlier trials did not have sufficient data on this group. The World Health Organization has approved the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine for use in all adults, paving the way for its use in low- and middle-income countries.

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