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Africa News of Saturday, 20 March 2021


Cameroon joins DRC, SA in suspending AstraZeneca vaccines

Cameroon joined the Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC, in suspending use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine.

The central African country was scheduled to receive on today, March 20, its first tranche of jabs from the global vaccines sharing scheme COVAX.

The health ministry said in a statement issued on March 18 that the suspension was for precaution and prudence. It gave no further reasons for the decision or if it will go ahead and take delivery of its share of the vaccine.

Whiles announcing the suspension, Congo Health Minister Eteni Longondo said: "The vaccinations will enable us to protect and save lives. We must encourage the target population to be vaccinated."

South Africa, the continent's most impacted relative to the virus was the first to suspend use of the vaccine in February.

The move is also against the African Union's medical directive that the efficacy of the shots outweighed the feared risks.

The AstraZeneca vaccines are the most deployed across Africa under the COVAX initiative. Countries like Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia are continuing to administer them.

Madagascar's health ministry earlier this week also stated that they will study the outcome of vaccinations elsewhere before accepting any shots.

Several European countries have resumed use of shots on Friday after the European Union and British regulators said the benefits outweighed any risks after reports of rare instances of blood clotting that temporarily halted inoculations.

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