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Last updated on Jun 23rd, 2021 at 12:53 pm

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize says little is known about the effects of the AstraZeneca vaccine on pregnant women, and children under the age of 18, because they did not form part of the vaccine trials.

According to News 24, President Cyril Ramaphosa is set to receive the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines this morning. The AstraZeneca vaccine from the Serum Institute of India is making its way into the country. The one million doses will be in quarantine and analysed for about 14 days before they can be administered to people.

Frontline workers will be receiving the first doses.

In an interview with SABC News, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize stated that the vaccine will not be given to pregnant women and newborns.

The efficacy of the vaccine has not been determined for these groups as yet.

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According to World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Expert Advisor Professor Helen Rees, “there’s a lot we don’t know about protection from infection.”

AstraZeneca is not 100% effective, and, therefore, 100% protection cannot be guaranteed.

The government knows far less about the effects it may have on pregnant women and newborns.

According to WHO “those pregnant women at high risk of exposure to SARS-CoV-2 (e.g. health workers) or who have co-morbidities which add to their risk of severe disease, maybe vaccinated in consultation with their health care provider.”

England’s government is also encouraging only high-risk pregnant women to receive the jab.

 

The AstraZeneca vaccine has been widely rolled out in the UK. According to London Gynaecology, “the vaccines have not yet been tested in pregnancy, so until more information is available, those who are pregnant should not routinely have this vaccine.”

Children under 18 will also be excluded in the first phase of vaccinations. They were not part of the vaccination trials, and it cannot be determined at this point if vaccinations are recommended for them.

 

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