Covid-19: Sale of AstraZeneca vaccine to AU concluded – Health Minister Zweli Mkhize

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize.

Darren Stewart/Gallo Images

  • Health Minister Zweli Mkhize says the full purchase amount for the AstraZeneca vaccines was received Monday last week.
  • About a million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine were sold to the African Union by South Africa. 
  • Mkhize says the first batch of vaccines that is being delivered will benefit nine member states.

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize says the sale of the one million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to the African Union (AU) has been concluded. 

In a statement on Sunday, Mkhize said the department had in the past weeks ensured that all member states identified by the AU vaccine acquisition team as recipients were compliant and had obtained regulatory approvals, permits and licenses to roll out the jabs in their countries. 

Mkhize said the full purchase amount was received by the department last Monday.

“The AU and South African teams then ensured

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Western Cape health department to investigate allegations of vaccine queue jumping

Dr Jarrod Zamparini receives a vaccine.

  • The Western Cape Department of Health has been instructed to investigate
    cases of people posing as healthcare workers to receive vaccines.
  • This follows a report that family members of doctors were posing as
    healthcare workers or receiving vaccines even though they were only
    administrative staff.
  • As a security measure, the department is requesting everyone to produce
    proof that they are healthcare workers before being vaccinated.

The Western Cape Department of Health will be investigating allegations
that some people have skipped the queue for their Covid-19 vaccine, after
posing as healthcare workers.

According to a report by IOL, some doctors have allowed their
family members to pose as healthcare workers to fast track their vaccination.

The incidents reportedly occurred at Groote Schuur Hospital, with some
people presenting fake documentation, or only working in administrative roles.

Western Cape Premier Alan Winde said he has asked

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COVID-19: All the new categories that can receive vaccine in Dubai

A client at the One Central Vaccination Centre in Dubai.
Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Dubai: Dubai Health Authority (DHA) has expanded the categories targeted within the vaccination programme in the emirate.

The announcement was made on March 2, 2021.

According to the new announcement, the following categories can book an appointment for the COVID-19 vaccine at a DHA Centre:

2. Dubai residence visa holders within the ‘People of determination’ category

3. All Dubai residence visa holders who are above the age of 40.

4. Dubai residence visa holders who suffer from chronic diseases

5. Elderly residents who are 60 years and above and live in Dubai. According to the announcement, elderly residents aged 60 and above with a valid visa issued in any Emirate can register for an appointment, provided they can prove that they are residing in Dubai.

6. GCC country nationals who carry an Emirates ID.


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Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine sharply reduces symptomatic Covid-19 in the real world, Israeli researchers say

The findings, while preliminary, suggest that the vaccine remains remarkably effective in a mass vaccination campaign — outside the carefully controlled conditions of a clinical trial.

The Clalit Research Institute, part of a large Israeli health system, analyzed data on 1.2 million people, about half of whom had received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Researchers compared patients who received the vaccine with similar individuals who hadn’t.

The rate of symptomatic Covid-19 — meaning people who were infected with the coronavirus and felt sick — decreased by 94% among people who received two doses of the vaccine, according to a press release from Clalit. The rate of serious illness decreased by 92%.

Full details of the study weren’t immediately available, and the research hasn’t yet been peer-reviewed. Still, the findings are consistent with data from Pfizer’s own vaccine trial, which found that the vaccine conferred 95% protection against symptomatic Covid-19.

“The affirmation is

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Who gets Covid-19 vaccine next? Older adults and ‘frontline essential workers,’ CDC advisers recommend

That would put those people in “Phase 1b” of allocating the vaccine nationwide.

That committee vote also included prioritizing adults ages 65 to 75, people ages 16 to 64 with high-risk medical conditions and “other essential workers” in “Phase 1c” of allocation.

“They really serve to address the current lack of vaccine supply and address those individuals with the highest risk for disease,” Dr. José Romero, chair of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and secretary of the Arkansas Department of Health, said about the recommendations.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices met on Sunday to discuss Phases 1b and 1c of vaccine distribution.

In a previous meeting earlier this month, the group voted on Phase 1a, which advised giving the first round of vaccines to health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities.

There are two Covid-19 vaccines — Pfizer/BioNTech’s and Moderna’s — currently authorized for emergency use

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DA, national health department in spat over vaccine comments

DA MP Geordin Hill-Lewis (Photo: Lerato Maduna)

  • The national health department wants the DA to apologise for allegedly misrepresenting comments by one of its senior officials.
  • The department said its DDG did not suggest that National Treasury delayed SA’s Covid-19 vaccine acquisition.
  • The DA says it will not retract, nor apologise, for the statement it issued last week.

The national Department of Health has called on the DA to apologise for misrepresenting comments by one of its senior officials, relating to the National Treasury and the delay of Covid-19 vaccine acquisition.

According to the department, the DA’s Geordin Hill-Lewis “incorrectly and purposefully” misrepresented comments made by the health department’s deputy director-general, Dr Anban Pillay, in a recent interview published in the Financial Mail.

“Dr Pillay did not suggest that the National Treasury delayed South Africa’s Covid-19 vaccine acquisition,” health department spokesperson Popo Maja said in a statement.

He said

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Past vaccine disasters show why rushing a Covid-19 vaccine now would be ‘colossally stupid’

Their concern that the FDA may be moving too quickly heightened when FDA Commissioner Dr. Steven Hahn told the Financial Times that his agency could consider an emergency use authorization (EUA) for a Covid-19 vaccine before late stage clinical trials are complete if the data show strong enough evidence it would protect people.

Vaccine approval

For a vaccine to be FDA approved, scientists must gather enough data through clinical trials in large numbers of volunteers to prove it is safe and effective at protecting people against a disease. Once the data is collected, FDA advisers usually spend months considering it.
An EUA is much quicker. Only once before has the FDA given a vaccine this lesser standard approval of an EUA, but it was in an unusual circumstance. Soldiers had sued, claiming a mandatory anthrax vaccine made them sick, and a judge put a hold on the program. The Department
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Ohio vaccine provider mishandled 890 doses of COVID-19 vaccine

The Ohio Department of Health has suspended a vaccine provider accused of mishandling 890 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. The state’s health department is requesting the Ohio State Board of Pharmacy open an investigation. Columbus provider SpecialtyRX was given 1,500 vaccines to vaccinate residents at eight long-term care facilities before the new year, health officials said. The long-term care facilities are located in Cuyahoga, Lucas, Portage and Sandusky counties. SpecialtyRX was not part of the federal long-term car pharmacy partnership program. After administering its first doses, health officials say SpecialtyRX had 890 doses remaining.”The company was exploring a transfer of the doses to another provider when it was discovered that they had failed to appropriately monitor temperatures in their refrigerator and freezer,” a news release from the health department reads. “ODH requires all COVID-19 vaccine providers to check and record the minimum and maximum temperatures of cold storage refrigerators … Read More

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German officials say AstraZeneca vaccine shouldn’t be given to over-65s, citing lack of data

The Standing Committee on Vaccination (STIKO) at Germany’s Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the country’s main public health authority, found there is insufficient data on the effectiveness of the vaccine, developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford, for this age group, according to a statement from the interior ministry on Thursday.

“Due to the small number of study participants in the age group ≥65 years, no conclusion can be made regarding efficacy and safety in the elderly. This vaccine is therefore currently recommended by STIKO only for persons aged 18-64 years,” the panel said in its recommendation.

Responding to the announcement, an AstraZeneca spokesperson said “latest analyses of clinical trial data for the AstraZeneca/Oxford Covid-19 vaccine support efficacy in the over 65 years age group.” The drugmaker is awaiting a regulatory decision by the European Union medicines regulator, the spokesperson added.

Thursday’s announcement by the German Interior Ministry came amid … Read More

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