10 Facts You Need To Know About the AstraZeneca Vaccine. South Africa will receive its first one-million doses of vaccines from India’s Serum Institute today. The second batch of 500 000 jabs is scheduled to arrive later this month. According to Health Minister Zweli Mkhize, once the vaccine, arrives in the country, samples will be taken to a laboratory for quality assurance checks before the rollout.
Here is what you need to know about the vaccine,that might probably help us deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.
1. The University of Oxford partnered with the British-Swedish company AstraZeneca to develop and test a coronavirus vaccine known as ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 or AZD1222.
2. The Oxford vaccine is being manufactured in Europe and also in large numbers in India, and is part of the COVAX initiative – led by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
3. The University of Oxford, AstraZeneca vaccine is a vaccine that aims to protect against COVID-19.
4. A clinical trial revealed the vaccine was 62 to 90 percent effective, depending on the initial dosage. This gives the world’s fight against the global pandemic a new weapon, cheaper to make, easier to distribute and faster to scale-up than rivals.
5. The vaccine is based on the virus’s genetic instructions for building the spike protein. But unlike the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, which store the instructions in single-stranded RNA, the Oxford vaccine uses double-stranded DNA.
6. The vaccine uses a modified version of a chimpanzee common cold virus to deliver instructions to cells to fight the target virus, a traditional approach to vaccine development and different from the path taken by Pfizer and Moderna.
7. It can also be transported and stored at normal fridge temperatures, which proponents say would make it easier to distribute, especially in poor countries, than Pfizer’s, which needs to be shipped and stored at -70°C.
8. The British drugmaker aimed at having as many as 200-million doses by the end of 2020, about four times as many as US competitor Pfizer. Seven-hundred million doses could be ready globally as soon as the end of the first quarter of 2021.
9. The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine requires two doses, given four weeks apart, to prime the immune system to fight off the coronavirus. In South Africa, the first phase of this rollout programme will prioritise around 1.2 million frontline health workers across the country.
10. The Health Department’s timeline is targeting to start the vaccination programme this month and with this delivery, it seems to be on target. Biopharmaceutical company, Bio-Vac, will be responsible for storing and distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine.