UK: Astrazeneca vaccine prevents COVID-19 death, South Africa halts shots

South Africa will put on hold use of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 shot in its vaccination program.

A vial of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is seen at Basingstoke Fire Station, in Basingstoke, Britain February 4, 2021 (photo credit: PETER CZIBORRA/REUTERS)
A vial of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is seen at Basingstoke Fire Station, in Basingstoke, Britain February 4, 2021
(photo credit: PETER CZIBORRA/REUTERS)
There is no evidence that the Astrazeneca vaccine does not prevent death or serious illness, and South Africa has only imposed a temporary halt on using the vaccine, a British junior health minister said on Monday.
South Africa will put on hold use of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 shot in its vaccination program after data showed it gave minimal protection against mild-to-moderate infection caused by the country's dominant coronavirus variant.
"There is no evidence that this vaccine is not effective in preventing hospitalization and severe illness and death, which ultimately is what we're seeking with these vaccines today," Britain's Edward Argar told Sky.
"The dominant strains in this country are not the South African strain, there are a small number of cases of that, the dominant strains here are the historic one we've had, and then the Kent variant, against which this vaccine is highly effective."