COVID Watch | 8th February 2021

Just 34 registered frontline healthcare workers in the Islamabad have been administered China;s Sinopharm vaccine in the past week as most medics have opted to wait to ascertain health outcomes of the drug. A study found that the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine provided 'minimal protection' against the South African COVID-19 variant which affects about 90% percent of South Africans.

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COVID Watch

Just 34 Islamabad medics get vaccine shot so far

Just 34 frontline healthcare workers in the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) have been administered the first shot of the two-dose Sinopharm vaccine in the past week as most medics prefer to wait to ascertain health outcomes of the drug.

District health officials and representatives of the Ministry of National Health Services (NHS) revealed that doctors were hesitant to get vaccinated immediately as there was a dearth of data as to the efficacy of the vaccine, which had been registered with the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) on an emergency basis, and on possible side-effects. Of the 300 appointments scheduled for Monday, February 8, district health authorities stated that only half responded and were willing to receive the shot.

In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, only 408 registered frontline healthcare workers were administered China’s state-owned COVID-19 vaccine from February 3 to February 7 – just 12.75 percent of the vaccination target. The provincial government has now resolved to request the National Command and Operations Center (NCOC) to allocate the unused quota and administer doses to willing, second-line healthcare providers.

AstraZeneca provides ‘minimal protection’ against South African variant

A study by the University of the Witwatersrand, which involved 2,000 volunteers, found that the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine AZD1222 provided ‘minimal protection’ against the South African COVID-19 variant, also known as B.1.351, which affects about 90 percent of the population there.

The trial has yet to be peer-reviewed, and was unable to investigate the vaccine’s efficacy for more serious cases as the the average sample age of 31 meant that it did not sufficiently represent the demographic most likely to develop severe symptoms. However, South African government has decided to put AstraZeneca on-hold for widespread use, and will instead offer vaccines developed by Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson.

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