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South Africa COVID Variant and the AstraZeneca Vaccine

CNN & NYT  coverage of events in South Africa concerning the AstraZeneca vaccine that’s being given in the British Virgin Islands are very poor.


The new study doesn’t come out until today, so the “news” reports are based only on press releases


ONE variant. ONE country.

And the actual data isn’t even available yet, even as preliminary information…


From what is available information in these reports about South Africa: About 1500 young people, average age 31,  were studied in South Africa, half received the vaccine, half a placebo. This study only evaluated one strain, and only mild to moderate infections, because this age group doesn’t tend to get sick.


All we really know is that in the South Africa study, similar numbers became infected with that particular strain and the serum from their blood didn’t do a good job of neutralizing that strain in the lab.


From the BBC news reports:
“Data from the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine team suggests their vaccine protects just as well against the new UK variant, but offers less protection against the South Africa variant – although it should still protect against severe Covid-19 illness.”

The vaccine *does* have high efficacy protection for the older strains & the UK variant. Not only that, but if vaccinated, the infectious period is shorter for these varieties.

There’s evidently no safety concern about the AstraZeneca vaccine from either study.

Beverly B Nuckols, MD

@bnuckols tweets

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