The World Health Organization (WHO) has approved two versions of the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use, clearing the way for the vaccines to be shipped to African countries through the Covax scheme.
Covax is a global initiative in which countries pool their resources to support the development of vaccines with a view to ensure that all countries receive a fair supply of effective vaccines.
“Countries with no access to vaccines to date will finally be able to start vaccinating their health workers and populations at risk,” said WHO Assistant-Director General Mariângela Simão.
The vaccine has been found to have 63.09% efficacy and is suitable for low and middle-income countries due to easy storage requirements, WHO said.
A group of experts on immunization assembled by WHO recommended the vaccine for all age groups above 18 years.
The vaccines are produced by AstraZeneca-SKBio in South Korea and the Serum Institute of India.
South Africa last week halted its rollout of the Oxford – AstraZeneca vaccine after a study showed “disappointing” results against a new Covid variant that’s dominant in the country.
But experts are hopeful that the vaccine will still be effective at preventing severe cases.