The World Health Organization’s independent panel on vaccinations will meet on Monday to discuss the AstraZeneca vaccine and studies assessing how effective it is against the virus variant first identified in South Africa, Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO’s technical lead for Covid-19, said on CBS’s Face the Nation Sunday.
A spokesperson for AstraZeneca told CNN on Saturday that a small trial found the company’s Covid-19 vaccine provides limited protection against mild disease in cases caused by the B.1.351 variant. The study has not yet been peer-reviewed or published.
When asked if she was concerned about AstraZeneca’s vaccine and the variant, Van Kerkhove told CBS’s Margaret Brennan that there were a number of studies underway to look at immune responses.
There are “some preliminary studies suggesting reduced efficacy. But again, those studies aren’t fully published yet,” Van Kerkhove said.
“Our independent panel group on vaccinations is meeting tomorrow to specifically discuss the AstraZeneca vaccine as well as the results coming out of South Africa to determine what does this mean in terms of the vaccines going forward,” Van Kerkhove said.
She added that it’s critical to have more than one safe and effective vaccine: “We cannot rely on only one product.”