Pfizer 'still very good vaccine' despite study, says MAC's Prof Barry Schoub

0:00
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
A MAC member has commented on the Pfizer vaccine.
A MAC member has commented on the Pfizer vaccine.
Michael Ciaglo, Getty Images via AFP
  • MAC's professor Barry Schoub has commented on the latest findings about the Pfizer vaccine.
  • He has said it is still a good vaccine despite new research.
  • MAC has been holding regular meetings about the virus.

One of the South African government's top advisers on Covid-19 vaccines said on Friday that the Pfizer shot was "still a very good vaccine", despite a study showing the dominant local virus variant may reduce its protective antibodies.

Barry Schoub, chairperson of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on vaccines, told Reuters that the two-thirds reduction in protective antibodies mentioned in the study "means there is quite a significant remnant neutralising potency".

The advisory committee held its regular weekly meeting on Thursday and discussed the laboratory study, which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine this week.

READ | SA becomes first country to use J&J vaccine

While it has not been established in a clinical trial that the Pfizer vaccine protects against the more contagious 501Y.V2 variant first identified late last year, "we can have a reasonable extrapolation because it's such a potent stimulator of the immune system and the fact that in the laboratory it was only reduced by two-thirds", Schoub said.

Vaccine

Authorities would monitor closely those who get the Pfizer vaccine, he added.

South Africa is counting on the Pfizer shot, developed with German partner BioNTech, to step up its vaccination programme after administering its first Johnson & Johnson doses on Wednesday.

READ | Covid-19: Ramaphosa, Mkhize get vaccine jabs

AstraZeneca vaccinations are on hold after a small local trial found the shot offered minimal protection against mild to moderate illness from the 501Y.V2 variant.

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said on Wednesday that South Africa was expecting 500 000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine initially and about seven million doses by June.

South Africa, with nearly 1.5 million cases and over 48 000 deaths, has recorded almost half the Covid-19 fatalities and over a third of confirmed infections in Africa. It lagged behind richer Western nations in launching its immunisation campaign.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
As a child or as an adult, have you ever been a victim of bullying?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Yes, at school
55% - 2999 votes
Yes, at work
17% - 923 votes
No, I've never experienced this
27% - 1486 votes
Vote
USD/ZAR
14.32
(+0.1)
GBP/ZAR
19.94
(-0.0)
EUR/ZAR
17.23
(+0.0)
AUD/ZAR
11.04
(-0.1)
JPY/ZAR
0.13
(+0.1)
Gold
1,781.36
(+0.1)
Silver
25.86
(+0.1)
Platinum
1,189.91
(+0.1)
Brent Crude
66.57
(-0.7)
Palladium
2,770.55
(+0.2)
All Share
66,836
(0.0)
Top 40
61,117
(0.0)
Financial 15
12,162
(0.0)
Industrial 25
86,452
(0.0)
Resource 10
68,586
(0.0)
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo