All countries in the world are urgently awaiting lifesaving vaccines.
All vaccines were developed on the basis of the original SARS-COV-2 variant that was prevalent throughout the world. The vaccine, developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University showed promise, and in clinical trials conducted in South Africa, people who received the vaccine were 75 per cent less likely to develop mild to moderate cases of COVID-19 than were people who received a placebo.
The South African government has sought to acquire vaccines from a number of sources, including the global COVAX initiative. However, the government’s process of procuring vaccines was already underway before the 501Y.V2 variant and other variants were discovered. Before the efficacy results, South Africa could not delay receipt of the vaccine batches to await the results of the efficacy studies by our scientists, as this would have relegated the country to the back of the line for vaccines due to global shortage of supplies.