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India says it has no concerns about efficacy of AstraZeneca vaccine

South Africa delayed use of the vaccine after researchers found it offered minimal protection against mild-to-moderate COVID-19 disease caused by the country’s dominant coronavirus variant.

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India said it had no concerns over the efficacy of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine despite South Africa putting it on hold, and ordered 10 million more doses of the shot for its own huge immunisation campaign.

South Africa delayed use of the vaccine after researchers found it offered minimal protection against mild-to-moderate COVID-19 disease caused by the country’s dominant coronavirus variant.

India, with the highest number of infections after the United States, has yet to detect the South African variant and will continue to use the vaccine in an inoculation drive that has covered 6.3 million front-line workers since January 16, 2021.

“Our vaccination programme is robust and valid, and I assure you that we are going ahead with it, not worried at the moment,” Vinod Kumar Paul, a top Indian vaccine official.

The government wants to cover 300 million people by August, reaching the elderly and those with existing conditions by March.

Paul said Johnson & Johnson could manufacture its shot in India. He also said many more vaccines, including Russia’s Sputnik V, Cadila Healthcare’s ZyCov-D and a Novavax product, were in the queue.

(Edits by EP News Bureau)

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