Medical expert calls for calm amid renewed vaccine concerns

Medical expert calls for calm amid renewed vaccine concerns

Scientists and researchers are still trying to make sense of the latest vaccine developments in South Africa.  

Vaccine shot

On Sunday evening, the Department of Health confirmed that the AstraZeneca vaccine provides minimal protection against the mild to moderate symptoms from the 501Y.V2 variant that first emerged in South Africa. 

The news hit less than a week after 1 million doses landed on the country’s shores from the Serum Institute of India. 

The rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which was scheduled to begin this week, has now been put on hold

Medical expert Dr Aslam Dasoo says the news comes as no surprise. 

“This is a moving issue, it’s a dynamic situation around the world. The virus mutates, we know. Vaccines are being developed, the virus tries to escape the obstacles put up by the vaccine, it mutates to do that and sometimes it succeeds.   

“It’s possibly just a fateful coincidence that the day our vaccine arrived that the preliminary results emerged that showed the vaccine does not have efficacy against the variant.”


He believes the country’s vaccine programme is still on track.  

“We were able to substitute the AstraZeneca vaccine for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine which should arrive shortly so there’s absolutely no need for anxiety or panic. The vaccination programme seems to still be on track and healthcare workers will start receiving the J&J vaccine shortly, probably at the same time they were supposed to start,” Dasoo adds.  

But he hasn’t ruled out the possibility that other vaccines may suffer the same fate.  

“Because the virus constantly mutates, all the vaccines are vulnerable, not just J&J and the AstraZeneca one which is probably why scientists are focused on the view that we might need repeated vaccination.  

“This is also not unusual for viral diseases but there’s no reason to be concerned about that because vaccine technology is sufficiently advanced to be able to meet that particular challenge, should it arise.”  

Dasoo says the criticism against government is misplaced. 

“The vaccine is not useless by any means.” 

Listen to Dr Dasoo below: 

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