AstraZeneca and Oxford University’s COVID-19 vaccine was 79% effective in a large United States trial at preventing symptomatic illness and was 100% effective against severe or critical disease and hospitalisation, the drugmaker said on Monday.

The fresh data comes after many countries are resuming the use of the vaccine after the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) said the benefits outweighed the risks following investigations into reports of blood clots.

European Medicines Agency says the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is safe:

Blood clots

AstraZeneca said an independent safety committee conducted a specific review of the blood clots in the US trial, as well as cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST), which is an extremely rare blood clot in the brain, with the help of an independent neurologist.

The London-listed firm said the panel found “no increased risk of thrombosis or events characterised by thrombosis among the 21 583 participants receiving at least one dose of the vaccine. The specific search for CVST found no events in this trial.”

AU says AstraZeneca vaccine benefits outweigh risks:

SA concludes sale of its AstraZeneca  

On Sunday, Health Minister Dr. Zweli Mkhize confirmed that the government has concluded its sale of 1 million doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine that arrived in the country in the middle of February.

The vaccine was purchased from the Serum Institute in India and its rollout was suspended after the results of a small study showed that the jab had limited efficacy against the dominant coronavirus variant that was discovered in the country at the end of 2020.

Mkhize said the vaccines that expire in April will be sent to 14 African Union countries after an AU vaccine acquisition team found that they have obtained all regulatory approvals, permits and licenses to rollout the vaccines.

The Health Minister confirmed that his department was paid last Monday for the doses.