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Editorial | Well done, but move faster on vaccines

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After the embarrassment of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s presence at the airport for the arrival of vaccines that ended up not being appropriate for use, the South African government tried again this week and successfully received 80 000 vaccine doses.

It was the first step towards vaccinating front line workers with the first batch of vaccines as part of an implementation study called Sisonke – a phase 3b “real-world” clinical trial spearheaded by the SA Medical Research Council.

A total of 500 000 Johnson & Johnson vaccines will be made available over the next four weeks for step one of the vaccine roll-out plan. The vaccine, which has been proven to be safe, offers 57% efficacy against the 501Y.V2 variant, which is dominant in South Africa. Furthermore, it offers 85% protection against severe illness.

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Covid-19 variant, 501Y.V2, has attracted much negative coverage, but as researchers learn more about the variant they are discovering that positives can also be gleaned like the fact that those infected by the variant are showing signs of immunity against re-infection.
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