South Africa halts AstraZeneca COVID vaccine; Twitter users reacts over halt and vaccines with April expiry date

After a study revealed AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine was ineffective against the South African (SA) variant of the coronavirus, 501Y.V2, the country has temporarily halted the administration of the vaccine.

Another fear which is cause of concern for lawmakers in the country is that AstraZeneca vaccines that arrived from India were nearing their expiry date.

During a press briefing, SA, health department deputy director-general Anban Pillay said, "The expiry date on the vaccines ordinarily are six months. These vaccines just have a six-month expiry date." The official further stated that the government is in talks with Serum Institute of India for the future course of action.

Many took to Twitter to express the view around the halt and also expiration of the vaccine. South African politician and entrepreneur tweeted that the concern is not expiration but failing to administer the 1 million doses to SA healthcare workers. Meanwhile, SA politician Mmusi Maimane said the country cannot make mistakes at the time when lives of people are in line.

Meanwhile, RTI activist Saket Gokhale pointed out the wastage that will happen due to the decision of SA to stay roll out of AstraZeneca COVID vaccine.

While some made fun of the situation, some expressed concerns about the vaccine with expiration date of April.

Meanwhile, health Minister Zweli Mkhize said at a press conference, said, "We shall wait for guidance from our scientists on how to use the AstraZeneca vaccine." Meanwhile, SA will continue with the vaccination programme by using Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer vaccines in the coming weeks. On February 1, SA received 1 million doses of the drug, which the government said would be administered first to frontline health workers. It received the vaccine from the India-base Serum Institute of India.

South Africa has the highest number of cases in the continent. It is also the 15th most affected country in the world.

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