The rand weakened early on Monday after South Africa’s Covid-19 vaccination plan suffered a setback over the weekend as the government put on hold the use of AstraZeneca’s vaccine in its programme.
At 8.35am, the rand traded at R14.88 against the US dollar, 0.32% weaker than its close on Friday.
Health minister Zweli Mkhize said on Sunday the government would await advice from scientists on how best to proceed after a trial showed the AstraZeneca vaccine did not significantly reduce the risk of mild or moderate Covid-19 infection caused by the country’s dominant coronavirus variant.
“The government is scrambling to figure out its ‘next steps’ after new evidence showed that AstraZeneca’s vaccine provides minimal protection against the 501Y.V2 variant,” analysts at NKC African Economics said in a note.
South Africa had hoped to roll out the AstraZeneca vaccine to healthcare workers soon after receiving a million doses produced by the Serum Institute of India on 1 February. — Reported by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo, (c) 2021 Reuters