Millions of doses of the Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine procured by the South African government have expired and the shot is largely unavailable to people in the country. Meanwhile, earlier this month, the World Health Organization declared an end to the COVID-19 ‘Public Health Emergency of International Concern’. Adele Baleta asks what all this means for COVID-19 in South Africa.
The Department of Health is not planning to buy the new COVID-19 bivalent booster vaccines, specifically tailored to target Omicron variants, anytime soon. Adele Baleta looks into the reasoning behind this decision.
Earlier this month Cape Town-based vaccine company Afrigen announced a formal collaboration with the United States National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases’ (NIAID’s) Vaccine Research Centre. Catherine Tomlinson unpacks what this deal may mean for local production of vaccines for COVID-19 and other diseases.
Messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines, such as the COVID-19 vaccines made by Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech, have been hailed for their manufacturing advantages over conventional vaccines – so much so that African leaders such as President Cyril Ramaphosa has called for mRNA production capacity to be developed in Africa. Catherine Tomlinson examines why mRNA vaccines are easier to make than some other types of vaccines and asks what it will take to build such production capacity.
On 17 May South Africa’s mass COVID-19 vaccination programme is expected to finally kick off. This will start a long race against the clock in which every day and every vaccination matters. We should aim to administer at least 250 000 vaccine doses a day, writes Spotlight editor Marcus Low.
Provinces manage the day-to-day running of the public healthcare system in South Africa and provinces will be responsible for the massive logistical effort of getting COVID-19 vaccines from fridges and depots into people’s arms. Elri Voigt has been keeping track of the nine provinces’ plans.
It has been over a year since the world saw the first confirmed case of COVID-19, yet the science behind the virus’ physical impact on children remains relatively unclear. Kathryn Cleary spoke to two experts in paediatrics and immunology to get an update on what we have learnt so far.
Government deserves criticism for various aspects of its COVID-19 response, but some social media criticism following Sunday’s announcement that the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine has little or no efficacy in preventing mild-to-moderate disease caused by the 501Y.V2 variant has been unfair, writes Marcus Low.
Local researchers have welcomed impressive phase III findings for the Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine published this week in the Lancet medical journal. It is the sixth COVID-19 vaccine found to be effective in preliminary data from a phase III randomised controlled trial and the fourth to have phase III findings published in a leading medical journal.
While progress in the race for effective COVID-19 vaccines has been rapid and impressive, an effective HIV vaccine remains elusive. As part of Spotlight’s World AIDS Day 2020 coverage, Kathryn Cleary asks two of South Africa’s top vaccine researchers to update us on where we are in the race for an HIV vaccine.