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WHO supports Oxford vaccine despite concern over new variants – By Katie Wood

The World Health Organization (WHO) have said they still recommend using the Oxford and AstraZeneca vaccine to fight coronavirus even though new variants seem to make it less effective.

There has been doubt around the effectiveness of the Oxford vaccine after early trials in South Africa have shown that it offers little protection against the disease in young people. As a result of this, South Africa put its rollout of the vaccine on hold and have said they will wait until scientists advise them to continue.

Some countries in Europe, including France and Germany, have also advised that it should not be given to people over 65 years old.

The new controversy has given it a bad reputation, but initially the Oxford vaccine was very popular due to its cheap price, easy storage and ability to be mass produced.

However, after going through the trials and evidence, WHO have said they still recommend using the Oxford vaccine.

The chairman of The WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts, Dr. Alejandro Cravioto, said: “There is no reason not to recommend its use even in countries that have circulation of the variant.”

The WHO also said that in the trials the small number of under 65s tested had a very similar immune response to those aged 18 – 55.

Dr. Cravioto said: “We have thousands of people dying from infection, in many countries of the world, daily, and I think anything we can do to use a product that might reduce that is totally justified, even if the information is not as complete as we would like.”

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