National COVID Vaccination Programme Status

Paused Sunday 6 February

  • Following concerns regarding efficacy of the Oxford-AstraZeneca (CoviShield) vaccine against mild-moderate COVID caused by the 501.V2 variant.
  • CoviShield may still play a role in the National Programme but more local research is needed.
  • There is likely to be significant lag period (approx. 3 months) before another vaccine is registered in South Africa.

Vaccination using a safe and efficacious vaccine must start without delay to protect health workers during a likely 3rd wave this winter

  • Health workers are 3-4 times more likely than the general population to develop COVID-19
  • 1 in 7 cases of COVID-19 are in health workers globally
  • To date 40 000 South African health workers have developed COVID-19, 6 473 have been hospitalised and 663 of our colleagues have passed on.
  • The ENSEMBLE trial showed excellent protection of a single-dose vaccine from JnJ against severe COVID-19 including in South Africa so to delay would be unethical.
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