Nepal has already completed its first phase of vaccination drive using AstraZeneca vaccine 'Covishield'


South Africa has decided to hold off its Covid-19 vaccination drive using AstraZeneca vaccine following a national research over the vaccine's effectiveness against the South African coronavirus variant.

Zweli Mkhiz, South African Minister of Health, on Sunday, said that the SA government will only proceed with the vaccination programme after receiving advice from scientists in the aftermath of the research trial which showed that AstraZeneca vaccine has minimal effect on the mild to moderate cases caused by the South African variant '501Y.V2'.

South Africa had received its first delivery of a million doses of AstraZeneca vaccines produced by the Serum Institute of India on February 1 with additional 500,000 doses due this month. ​​​​​​However, after receiving the vaccines, the African nation had decided to put a hold on the vaccination campaign while it awaited the national trail results before they committed to the use of AstraZeneca vaccine. The vaccine will expire in April and will not be used till scientists give a clear indication of their effectiveness.

Now, the South African government is said to offer vaccines developed by Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer/BioNTech in the coming weeks to its health workers.

The same AstraZeneca vaccine 'Covishield', produced at the Serum Institute of India, has been distributed to Nepal alongside Bhutan, the Maldives, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Seychelles, and Afghanistan and delivery is due to other countries.

Nepal received one million doses of Covishield vaccines from India and has already concluded the first phase of its vaccination drive which comprised frontline workers including health and sanitation workers.