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South Africa intends to resell AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines and plans to purchase Chinese vaccines
South Africa intends to resell AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines. After being urgently stopped due to unsatisfactory efficacy, the British AstraZeneca vaccine suddenly became a “tricky product” in South Africa. How to deal with the stockpiled AstraZeneca vaccine has become a major problem for the South African Ministry of Health.
On the 10th local time, South African Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said that scientists are still studying how to deal with it. There are currently two options: resell or exchange with other vaccines in other countries; or for medical research.
In addition, South Africa will vaccinate its citizens with the COVID-19 vaccine produced by Johnson & Johnson in the United States from next week. At the same time, it is negotiating with China Sinopharm Group on the purchase of the vaccine. Mherz also revealed that the US Moderna, Pfizer, and Russian “Satellite V” vaccines are also on the consideration list in South Africa.
Reuters: South Africa wants to exchange vaccines with other countries
South African media: South Africa is negotiating with Chinese vaccine suppliers
Comprehensive Reuters, Associated Press and other media reported on the 10th that South Africa’s Health Minister Mherz said at a press conference that day that health workers in the country will be vaccinated with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine from next week. South African officials have previously stated that the country has received 9 million doses of a single-dose vaccine produced by Johnson & Johnson.
Prior to this, South Africa had purchased 1 million doses of the British AstraZeneca vaccine, and the validity of this batch of vaccines was April 30. However, studies have shown that the AstraZeneca vaccine can only provide “minimal protection” to moderately and lightly infected people with the mutant new coronavirus found in South Africa, with an efficacy of only 10%. For this reason, South Africa announced on February 7 that it “suspended the use of AstraZeneca vaccine in the country.”
As for how to deal with the idle AstraZeneca vaccine, Mherz said that scientists are still studying how to deal with it. There are currently two options: resell or use it to “barter” with other countries in exchange for another COVID-19 vaccine; or use it. In the home country medical research.
“Why not sell AstraZeneca to other countries? This is an option… we will consider. First, our scientists will tell us what to do with it (research).” He said, if South Africa cannot use it before the expiration date After finishing these vaccines, we will try to discuss with the WHO “COVID-19 Vaccine Implementation Plan” (COVAX) and exchange them with other countries for other vaccines.
Due to the different prices of the same vaccine around the world, it is not clear how the sale or exchange will proceed, nor is it clear whether the British company AstraZeneca and the vaccine manufacturer India Serological Institute agree to such a move. At present, the two companies declined to comment to Reuters.
South African Minister of Health, video screenshot
It is worth mentioning that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is only approved for research in South Africa, and has not actually been authorized to be widely used in any country, which has caused some health workers’ concerns. But Mhertz assured the public that Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine is safe. He pointed out that so far, the vaccine has been tested on 44,000 people.
In addition, Mherz also said that in response to the severe epidemic raging by the mutant virus, the South African government will vaccinate about 40 million people with the COVID-19 before the end of this year, which accounts for about two-thirds of the country’s population. To this end, the South African Ministerial Advisory Committee will give a thoughtful opinion on how to deal with AstraZeneca vaccine in the next one or two weeks.
He also added that the government has also obtained doses for health workers from Pfizer, and is also negotiating with other vaccine manufacturers such as China National Pharmaceutical Group on the purchase of vaccines.
According to a report by South African media “news 24” on the 10th, Mherz only said that South Africa has plans to purchase 2 million doses of vaccine from China National Pharmaceutical Group, but because of the “non-disclosure agreement” between the two parties, no more details were disclosed. He said: “We (the Ministry of Health) are dealing with the price issue and we are also applying to the Medical and Health Products Administration.”
Mherz also revealed that the US Moderna and Russian “Satellite V” vaccines are also on the South African consideration list. “We have entered the later stage of evaluating and contacting Russian vaccine manufacturers, and our contacts with Sinopharm Group will continue.”
According to real-time statistics from Johns Hopkins University in the United States, as of 13:00 on February 11, Pacific Time, the total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 pneumonia in South Africa is approaching 1.5 million, reaching 1,482,412; the cumulative number of deaths is 47,145.
At present, a variety of mutant viruses have appeared in South Africa, including the 501.V2 mutant strain that can cause re-infection of patients who have previously been infected with the COVID-19. Data from multiple experiments indicate that the virus variants found in South Africa may adversely affect the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine.
(source:internet, reference only)