Was SA too hasty to say ‘no thanks’ to AstraZeneca vaccine?
Given the vaccine crunch, was SA not too hasty in saying “no thanks” to the AstraZeneca vaccine? wrote Rob Rose in Financial Mail (1 April 2021). “Six of SA’s top scientists certainly think so. These six - Francois Venter, Shabir Madhi, Marc Mendelson, Jeremy Nel, Alex van den Heever and Mosa Moshabela - have written a lacerating critique of the government’s vaccine plan in the latest SA Medical Journal.
Regarding the AstraZeneca decision, they write: “SA has squandered the opportunity to protect at least 500 000 of its most vulnerable citizens before the next resurgence, with massive healthcare and economic cost.” The result is that SA is “ill-prepared for mitigating a third wave”.
“It is not as if those doctors are on the scientific fringe either: most have been or remain on Health Minister Zweli Mkhize’s ministerial advisory committee (MAC). So, when they argue that the decision to ditch AstraZeneca not only contradicts World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations, but also ‘vaccine science’, they know what they’re talking about.”