03:50 GMT03 March 2021
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    The comments come as South Africa announced it would place its AstraZeneca vaccine rollout on hold following a study, which revealed the jabs were ineffective against the South African variant of the disease, media reported this week.

    UK prime minister Boris Johnson told reporters on Monday he was confident the Oxford-Astrazeneca and Pfizer coronavirus vaccines were effective against death and grave illnesses amid the pandemic, Reuters reported.

    According to the British Prime Minster, the COVID-19 jabs were effective at tackling the novel strain of the virus.

    "We think that both the vaccines that we're currently using are effective in, as I say, in stopping serious disease and death. We also think in particular in the case of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine that there's good evidence that it is stopping transmission, as well, I think 67% reduction in transmission," he said at a press conference.

    When asked about the vaccine, Johnson said they had remained a "massive benefit" to Britain and the nation's population.

    "I've no doubt that vaccines generally are going to offer a way out. And with every day that goes by, you can see that medicine is slowly getting the upper hand over the disease," he concluded.

    But the comments come after data from a South African study found the vaccine provided "minimum efficacy" against mild COVID-19 cases in adults and would "recalibrate thinking about how to approach the pandemic virus", Shabir Madhi, chief investigator and professor of vaccinology at the University of the Witwatersrand said.

    "The results that we now describe against the variant, the point estimate is 10%. Clearly, that is far off the 60% mark and, even if you had a larger study you are unlikely to get to a vaccine efficacy readout of even 40 or 50%," he told the BBC's Radio 4 Today programme.

    South Africa would shift to administering Pfizer-BioNTech and Johnson&Johnson vaccines, the government added.

    Portugal also advised against the British and Swedish-made vaccines for people aged over 65, according to a statement from the nation's directorate-general on Monday.

    "The AstraZeneca vaccine has been approved as the preventive measure against COVID-19 among people aged 18 and older ... Until new data is available, the AstraZeneca vaccine against COVID-19 has to be used primarily among people aged 65 and younger," it said in a statement at the time, echoing statements from Norway, Poland, Spain and Italy.

    Related:

    South Africa Putting Vaccination With AstraZeneca on Hold as Study Reveals Low Efficacy
    Seoul May Consider Purchasing Sputnik V, Other Vaccines Due to New Coronavirus Strains, KDCA Says
    Portugal Does Not Advise Giving AstraZeneca Vaccine to People Over 65, Health Authority Says
    South African Opposition Slams Gov't Vaccination Drive Amid Halted AstraZeneca Vaccine Rollout
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    Boris Johnson, medical study, study, South Africa, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, vaccine, United Kingdom, coronavirus, COVID-19
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