OXFORD UNIVERSITY/ASTRAZENECA VACCINE CAN BE USED BY ALL ADULTS—HELPS PREVENT SEVERE SYMPTOMS OF NEW COVID-19 VARIANTS

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Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Hazel Laws, reported this during her presentation at the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) Press Briefing on February 10, 2021.

“The vaccine can be used by all people over the age of 18 years in all countries,” she said. “The WHO recommends an interval of about eight to 12 weeks between the doses. It has been shown that the two-dose efficacy and immunogenicity increase with a longer inter-dose interval.”

She stated that preliminary evidence of the vaccine, which the Federation is expecting through the COVAX Facility, shows that it is effective against the variant first identified in the United Kingdom. “This is reassuring,” said Dr. Laws.

The Chief Medical Officer added that Oxford University and AstraZeneca have said that they expect this vaccine to protect against the more severe disease and death caused by the variant that was first identified in South Africa.

“This is also reassuring because preliminary data a few days ago found that from a trial conducted in South Africa last week, that the vaccine had reduced efficacy against mild and moderate disease caused by the variant first identified in South Africa,” she said. “So what they are saying is that it provides you protection against moderate to severe disease.”

The WHO is expected to issue an emergency use listing for this vaccine as early as this coming Monday (February 15), said Dr. Laws.

“This is important because the COVAX Facility can only distribute vaccines that have achieved World Health Organization emergency use listing,” she said. “Once this happens, we should be hopeful in terms of expecting our allocation coming out of the COVAX Facility.”

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