South Africa’s health regulator to assess efficacy of Sinopharm vaccine

PUBLISHED: Thu, 24 Jun 2021 10:22:17 GMT
Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo
Signage of Sinopharm is seen at the 2020 China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS), following the COVID-19 outbreak, in Beijing, China September 5, 2020. REUTERS/Tingshu Wang

JOHANNESBURG, June 23 (Reuters) – South Africa’s health regulator said on Wednesday it had received documentation for China’s Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine and will evaluate the data to assess the efficacy of the shot.

Now in the grip of a third wave of infections, South Africa is inoculating its population with Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer vaccines, but the rollout has been slow partly due to setbacks in supply.

It has vaccinated just over 2 million people, 3.6% of its population, one of the world’s lowest rates.

Authorities have faced pressure from South African radical opposition party the Economic Freedom Fighters to authorise the use of Russian and Chinese vaccines to ramp up vaccinations.

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The South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) said it received documentation for the Sinopharm vaccine.

“SAHPRA will now commence with evaluating the data in assessing the efficacy of the vaccine,” it said in a statement.

(Reporting by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo; Editing by Mark Heinrich)