COVID-19 WRAP | SA gets 'important update' on Covid-19 vaccine rollout

07 February 2021 - 06:48 By TimesLIVE
People walk in front the Duomo Cathedral as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions are relaxed allowing people to sit outside and enjoy a drink until 6pm, in Milan, Italy, February 6 2021.
People walk in front the Duomo Cathedral as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions are relaxed allowing people to sit outside and enjoy a drink until 6pm, in Milan, Italy, February 6 2021.
Image: REUTERS/Flavio Lo Scalzo

February 07 2021 - 22:25

SA's Covid-19 vaccines are expiring earlier than planned — and we only found out when they got to the country

It was only when the first million doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine arrived at OR Tambo airport last week did health authorities receive a surprise: the shots were expiring well ahead of what had been planned for.

There was much fanfare on Monday last week when the doses arrived on an Emirates fight, in the pouring rain, at the country's largest airport.

President Cyril Ramaphosa — who would address the nation just hours later, singing the benefits of the now-landed vaccine — was on the tarmac to cheer on the arrival of the plane. Alongside him was his second-in-command, David Mabuza, and health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize, as well as other dignitaries.

February 07 2021 - 20:45

‘Disappointment’ as experts confirm Covid vaccine that arrived in SA not effective against mild infection

It’s “largely disappointing news”: the AstraZeneca vaccine that arrived in SA last week is not particularly effective against mild to moderate disease caused by the dominant Covid-19 variant circulating across the country.

Speaking at a briefing on Sunday night, Prof Shabir Madhi of Wits University said studies were done in the wake of the new variant – known as 501Y.V2 or B.1.351 – showed it was not statistically significantly effective against mild or moderate infection.

However, he said that it was plausible, and in fact likely, that it was effective against “severe disease” caused by Covid-19.

February 07 2021 - 19:00

WATCH LIVE | Dr Zweli Mkhize to give 'important update' on Covid-19 vaccine

Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize was on Sunday set to give what was billed as an “important update” on Covid-19 vaccines.

This comes as new broke at the weekend that the AstraZeneca vaccine was less effective against the current dominant Covid-19 variant in the country.

Just last week, the first million doses of the vaccine arrived at SA's OR Tambo International Airport.

February 07 2021 - 14:23

UAE temporarily restricts Covid-19 vaccinations to elderly, chronic diseases

The United Arab Emirates will temporarily only vaccinate residents and citizens who are elderly or who have certain health conditions, state media said on Sunday.

The temporary policy change was made following a spike in infections over the past weeks "to ensure acquired community immunity and contain the disease", state news agency WAM said, quoting the health ministry.

For the next four to six weeks authorities will try to vaccinate as many elderly people and people with certain diseases as possible.


February 07 2021 - 10:26

Accidents and domestic violence cases spike in Durban as booze ban is lifted

Durban has seen a spike in vehicle accidents and incidents of domestic violence after the government lifted the prohibition of the sale of alcohol this week.

There has also been an increase in the number of house parties being hosted — despite “social gatherings” still being illegal under current level 3 lockdown regulations.

eThekwini metro police spokesperson Sen Supt Parboo Sewpersad said on Sunday that the force had seen more accidents, domestic violence cases and complaints of “partying at residences” in the past few days, compared to previous weeks.

February 07 2021 - 06:38

Australia reports no new local coronavirus cases ahead of Australian Open

Australia reported no new local coronavirus cases for a third day on Sunday, as tennis players geared up for the first Grand Slam of the year in Melbourne on Monday.

The Australian Open will have a reduced attendance of 30,000 fans a day, about 50% lower than usual because of COVID-19 protocols. Those public health protocols, which have been credited with making Australia one of the most successful nations in battling the novel coronavirus, forced players into a two-week hotel quarantine upon their arrival in Melbourne in January.

On Sunday, players were finishing warm-up tournaments, with Danii Medvedev firing Russia to an ATP Cup win and world No. 1 Ash Barty beating Spain's Garbine Muguruza to win the Yarra Valley Classic.


February 07 2021 - 06:18

Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 shot less effective against South African variant: study

British drugmaker AstraZeneca said on Saturday its vaccine developed with the University of Oxford appeared to offer only limited protection against mild disease caused by the South African variant of Covid-19, based on early data from a trial.

The study from Wits University and Oxford University showed the vaccine had significantly reduced efficacy against the South African variant, according to a Financial Times report published earlier in the day.