Controversial AstraZeneca vaccine arrives in Portugal

On Sunday, Portugal received 43,200 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, and 113,000 more are expected to arrive this week, according to SIC Notícias.

But on Sunday, South Africa suspended vaccinations of its population using AstraZeneca’s variety because of a study that apparently shows “substantially reduced” efficacy to neutralized the so-called South African strain of the virus, or the B.1.351 variant.  

The South African variant was first detected in Portugal about two weeks ago, an investigator with Instituto Nacional de Saúde Ricardo Jorge, which identified the case with the new strain, told RTP on Jan. 22.

This morning, Direcção-Geral da Saúde advised against using the AstraZeneca vaccine on those over 65, in a statement issued by Director of Health Graça Freitas. 

However, DGS says that “under no circumstances” should the vaccination of anyone over 65 be delayed if the AstraZeneca vaccine is the only one available. 

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