Africa: What WHO Recommends on Expend of the AstraZeneca/Oxford Vaccine Against Covid-19

Overview and Background

This intervening time guidance has been developed on the premise of the advice issued by the Strategic Advisory Community of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) at its unprecedented assembly on 8 February 2021.

Declarations of pursuits had been gentle from all external contributors and assessed for any conflicts of curiosity. Summaries of the reported pursuits might per chance well also be found on the SAGE assembly websiteand SAGE Working Community online page.

These intervening time ideas apply to AZD1222 (ChAdOx1-S [recombinant]) vaccine against COVID-19 developed by Oxford University (United Kingdom) and AstraZeneca as neatly as to ChAdOx1-S [recombinant] vaccines against COVID-19 produced by a quantity of manufacturers that depend on the AstraZeneca core clinical files, following demonstrated equivalence in their regulatory overview and as soon as emergency employ itemizing (EUL) has been bought from WHO.

The guidance is in line with the evidence summarized in the Background document on AZD1222 vaccine against COVID-19 developedby Oxford University and AstraZeneca and the Background paper on COVID-19 disease and vaccines. Every these documents areavailable on the SAGE COVID-19 webpage:


SAGE applies the rules of evidence- essentially essentially based mostly remedy and has set in spot a thorough methodological activity for issuing and updating ideas (2). A detailed description of the methodological processes as they apply to COVID-19 vaccines might per chance well also be present in the SAGE evidence framework for COVID-19 vaccines (3). This framework contains guidance on brooding about files emerging from clinical trials in relation to the issuance of vaccine-specific evidence-essentially essentially based mostly ideas.

Total goal and device for the utilization of the AZD1222 vaccine against COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has precipitated important morbidity and mortality at some level of the world, as neatly as foremost social, academic and financial disruptions. There is an urgent world desire to assemble efficient and safe vaccines and to originate them accessible at scale and equitably at some level of all international locations.

The AZD1222 vaccine against COVID-19 has an efficacy of 63.09% (95% CI 51.81; 71.73) against symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 an infection, as confirmed by the foremost prognosis of files with out reference to interdose interval (files gash wait on 7 December 2020) from trial participants in the UK, Brazil and South Africa who bought 2 authentic doses. Vaccine efficacy tended to be better when the interval between doses became as soon as longer. This, at the side of the finding of better antibody levels with increasing interdose interval, supports the conclusion that longer dose intervals within the 4–12 weeks differ are linked to better vaccine efficacy. No vaccinated people had been hospitalized as from 22 days after dose 1, in contrast with 14 unvaccinated those who had been hospitalized for COVID-19 in the identical timeframe. At the time of prognosis, the median note-up time after the 2d dose became as soon as 80 days. More detailed files on the efficacy and security of this vaccine might per chance well also be present in the Background document on AZD1222vaccine against COVID-19 developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca ( The guidelines reviewed by WHO strengthen the conclusion that the known and


doable advantages of AZD1222 outweigh the known and doable risks. As sufficient vaccine provide might per chance well per chance no longer be directly accessible to immunize all who can also serve from it, international locations are instructed to make employ of the WHO Prioritization Roadmap (4) and the WHO Values Framework (5) as guidance for his or her prioritization of target groups. As lengthy as vaccine gives are very restricted (stage I in the WHO Prioritization Roadmap), in settings with neighborhood transmission, the Roadmap recommends that precedence be given first and foremost to scientific examiners and older of us with and with out comorbidities. Holding scientific examiners has a threefold cause:

to defend the individual scientific examiners; (ii) to defend serious important providers for the length of the COVID-19 pandemic; and (iii) to stop onward transmission to prone of us. Holding older of us might per chance well per chance per chance enjoy the most spirited public health impact by the utilization of reducing the replacement of deaths. As extra vaccine becomes accessible, further precedence groups ought to be vaccinated as outlined in the WHO Prioritization Roadmap (4), taking into legend nationwide epidemiological files, vaccine-specific traits as outlined in product files approved by regulatory authorities, and a quantity of linked concerns.

Supposed employ

Persons frail 18 years and above.


The instructed time table is 2 doses (0.5 ml) given intramuscularly into the deltoid muscle. According to the producer’s product set, the vaccine might per chance well also be administered with an interval of 4-12 weeks (6). In light of the commentary that two-dose efficacy and immunogenicity magnify with a long interdose interval, WHO recommends an interval of 8 to 12 weeks between the doses. If the 2d dose is inadvertently administered no longer as much as 4 weeks after the foremost, the dose does no longer desire to be repeated. If administration of the 2d dose is inadvertently delayed past 12 weeks, it ought to be given on the earliest imaginable opportunity. It’s miles instructed that all and sundry vaccinated people receive two doses.

Booster doses

There is in the meanwhile no evidence indicating a necessity for further doses as soon as an individual has bought two doses. The need for, and timing of, further doses will be evaluated as further files to find.

Interchangeability with COVID-19 vaccines

No files come in on the interchangeability of doses of this vaccine with a quantity of COVID -19 vaccines. It’s miles in the meanwhile instructed that the identical product ought to be aged for both doses. Suggestions would be up to this point as further files becomes accessible on interchangeability.

Co-administration with a quantity of vaccines

There ought to be a minimal interval of 14 days between administration of this vaccine and any a quantity of vaccine against a quantity of prerequisites.

This recommendation would be amended as files on co-administration with a quantity of vaccines develop into accessible.


A history of anaphylaxis to any ingredient of the vaccine is a contraindication to vaccination. Of us which enjoy an anaphylactic reaction following the foremost dose of this vaccine can also aloof no longer receive a 2d dose of the identical vaccine.


No severe allergy symptoms or anaphylaxis precipitated by AZD1222 enjoy been recorded in the context of clinical trials. Nonetheless, as for all vaccines, AZD1222 ought to be given under health care supervision, with the suitable scientific therapy accessible in case of allergy symptoms. As for any a quantity of vaccine, an commentary length of 15 min after vaccination ought to be ensured.

Someone with an acute febrile sickness (body temperature over 38.5 ºC) can also aloof prolong vaccination till they are afebrile. Nonetheless, the presence of a minor an infection, such as a icy, or low-grade fever can also aloof no longer prolong vaccination.


Vaccination of specific populations

Populations for which supportive files come in from immunogenicity and clinical trials

Persons frail 65 years and over

Because a relatively diminutive replacement of participants frail 65 years or over had been recruited into the clinical trials, there had been few cases of COVID-19 in both the vaccine or the administration group in this age category, and thus the self belief interval on the efficacy estimate is terribly wide. More true efficacy estimates for this age group are expected rapidly, from both ongoing trials and vaccine effectiveness research in international locations that are the utilization of this vaccine. Immune responses triggered by the vaccine in older people are neatly documented and resembling those in a quantity of age groups. This means it’s miles doubtless that the vaccine will be found to be efficacious in older people. The trial files present that the vaccine is safe for this age group. The probability of severe disease and dying attributable to COVID-19 will increase steeply with age. Older adults are identified as a precedence group in the WHO SAGE Prioritization Roadmap. This prioritization is supported by vaccine impact modelling work, even for vaccine efficacy that’s significantly under that noticed among younger adults administered AZD1222. Taking the totality of accessible evidence into legend, WHO recommends the vaccine to be used in people frail 65 years and older.

Persons with comorbidities

Definite comorbidities enjoy been identified as increasing the possibility of severe COVID-19 disease and dying. The clinical trials demonstrated that the vaccine has identical security and efficacy profiles in people with varied underlying scientific prerequisites, including those who spot them at increased possibility for severe COVID-19. The comorbidities studied in the clinical trials incorporated weight problems, heart problems, respiratory disease and diabetes. Vaccination is instructed for people with comorbidities which had been identified as increasing the possibility of severe COVID-19.

Populations for which restricted or no files exist from the clinical trials

Adolescents and teens under the age of 18 years

There are in the meanwhile no efficacy or security files for kids or teens under the age of 18 years. Until such files come in, vaccination of people under 18 years of age is no longer instructed.

Pregnant girls folk

Pregnant girls folk are at better possibility of severe COVID- 19 in contrast with girls folk of childbearing age who’re no longer pregnant, and COVID -19 has been linked to an increased possibility of preterm beginning. The accessible files on AZD1222 vaccination of pregnant girls folk are insufficient to assess vaccine efficacy or vaccine-associated risks in pregnancy. Nonetheless, it ought to be neatly-known that AZD1222 is a nonreplicating vaccine.

Animal developmental and reproductive toxicity (DART) research are ongoing. Preliminary findings present no indication of damage to the advance of the foetus. Additional research are deliberate in pregnant girls folk in the impending months, including a pregnancy sub-gaze and a pregnancy registry. As files from these research develop into accessible, pointers on vaccination will be up to this point accordingly. For the time being, pregnant girls folk can also aloof receive AZD 1222 handiest if the serve of vaccination to the pregnant girl outweighs the aptitude vaccine risks, such as if they are scientific examiners at high possibility of exposure or enjoy comorbidities that spot them in a high -possibility group for severe COVID-19. Files and, if imaginable, counselling on the shortage of security files for pregnant girls folk ought to be supplied.

WHO does no longer indicate pregnancy sorting out sooner than vaccination. WHO does no longer indicate delaying pregnancy on legend of of vaccination.

Lactating girls folk

Breastfeeding affords gigantic health advantages to lactating girls folk and their breastfed kids. Vaccine efficacy is anticipated to be identical in lactating girls folk as in a quantity of adults. It’s miles unknown whether AZD1222 is excreted in human milk. As the AZD1222 vaccine is a non -replicating vaccine, it’s no longer doubtless to pose a possibility to the breastfeeding baby. On the premise of those concerns, a lactating girl who is share of a group instructed for vaccination, e.g., scientific examiners, ought to be supplied vaccination on the same foundation. WHO does no longer indicate discontinuing breastfeeding after vaccination.


Persons living with HIV

Persons living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) would be at better possibility of severe COVID -19. Persons living with HIV had been no longer incorporated in the foremost analyses of the rigors and security files in subgroups of HIV-sure matters are awaited. Files on administration of the vaccine are in the meanwhile insufficient to enable evaluate of vaccine efficacy or security for people living with HIV. It’s miles imaginable that the immune response to the vaccine would be lowered, that would also lower its clinical effectiveness. For the time being, provided that the vaccine is nonreplicating, people living with HIV who’re share of a group instructed for vaccination would be vaccinated. Files and, where imaginable, counselling ought to be supplied to stutter individual serve–possibility evaluate. It’s no longer important to take a look at for HIV an infection sooner than vaccine administration.

Immunocompromised people

Immunocompromised people are at better possibility of severe COVID-19. Readily accessible files are in the meanwhile insufficient to assess vaccine efficacy or vaccine-associated risks in severely immunocompromised people, including those receiving immunosuppressant therapy. It’s miles imaginable that the immune response to the vaccine would be lowered, that would also lower its clinical effectiveness. For the time being, provided that the vaccine is nonreplicating, immunocompromised those who’re share of a group instructed for vaccination would be vaccinated. Files and, where imaginable, counselling about vaccine security and efficacy profiles in immunocompromised people ought to be supplied to stutter individual serve–possibility evaluate.

Persons with autoimmune prerequisites

No files are in the meanwhile accessible on the safety and efficacy of AZD1222 in people with autoimmune prerequisites. Persons with autoimmune prerequisites who’re share of a group instructed for vaccination would be vaccinated.

Persons who enjoy previously had SARS-CoV-2 an infection

Vaccination would be supplied no topic a person’s history of symptomatic or asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 an infection. Viral or serological sorting out for prior an infection is no longer instructed for the explanation for decision-making about vaccination. Readily accessible files from the pooled analyses present that AZD1222 is safe in of us with evidence of prior SARS-CoV-2 an infection. In participants who had been seropositive at baseline, antibody levels had been boosted after dose 1, with no further boosting after dose 2. The added security of vaccinating previously contaminated people is yet to be established. For the time being accessible files present that symptomatic reinfection within 6 months after an preliminary an infection is uncommon. Thus, people with PCR-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 an infection in the previous 6 months can also prolong vaccination till advance the discontinue of this length. When extra files on length of immunity after natural an infection develop into accessible, the length of this timeframe would be revised.

Persons with present acute COVID-19

Persons with acute PCR- confirmed COVID-19, including those with onset of PCR-confirmed an infection between doses, can also aloof no longer be vaccinated till after they’ve recovered from acute sickness and the standards for discontinuation of isolation enjoy been met. Persons with PCR-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 an infection can also prolong vaccination for six months. When extra files on length of immunity after natural an infection develop into accessible, the length of this prolong would be revised.

Persons who previously bought passive antibody therapy for COVID-19

For the time being there are no files on the safety or efficacy of vaccination in those who bought monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma as share of COVID-19 therapy. As a end result of this reality, as a precautionary measure, vaccination ought to be deferred for no longer no longer as much as 90 days to e-book sure of interference of the antibody therapy with vaccine-triggered immune responses.

Special settings

Persons in settings such as refugee and detention camps, prisons, slums, and a quantity of settings with high population densities, where bodily distancing is no longer implementable, ought to be prioritized for vaccination as outlined in the WHO Prioritization Roadmap (4), taking into legend nationwide epidemiological files, vaccine provide and a quantity of linked concerns.

As neatly-known in the WHO Prioritization Roadmap, nationwide programmes can also aloof give particular consideration to groups that are disproportionately tormented by COVID-19 or that face health inequities on legend of social or structural inequities. Such groups


ought to be identified, obstacles to vaccination ought to be addressed, and programmes ought to be developed to enable equitable win entry to to vaccines.

In the present length of very restricted vaccine provide, preferential vaccination of world travellers would counter the thought of equity. Thanks to this and the shortage of evidence on whether vaccination reduces the possibility of transmission, WHO in the meanwhile does no longer indicate COVID-19 vaccination of travellers (except they are additionally share of a high-possibility group or in epidemiological settings identified in the WHO Prioritization Roadmap (4)). As vaccine provide will increase, these ideas will be revisited.

Utterly different concerns

SARS-CoV-2 variants

SARS- CoV-2 viruses endure evolution. Some fresh virus variants would be linked to better transmissibility, disease severity, possibility of reinfection, or a commerce in antigenic composition ensuing in lower vaccine effectiveness.

Preliminary analyses enjoy confirmed a slightly lowered vaccine effectiveness of AZD1222 against B1.1.1.7 in the V002 trial in the UK which is said to handiest a restricted reduction in neutralizing antibody. Preliminary analyses from the Phase 1/2a trial (COV005) in South Africa present marked reduction in vaccine effectiveness against light and sensible disease attributable to B 1.351 in line with a diminutive sample size and gigantic loss of neutralizing antibody activity. This gaze became as soon as designed to assess efficacy against disease of any severity, nonetheless the diminutive sample size did no longer enable a selected evaluate of vaccine efficacy against severe COVID-19. Indirect evidence is neatly suited with security against severe COVID-19; then all over again, this remains to be demonstrated in ongoing clinical trials and put up-implementation evaluations.

In gaze of this, WHO in the meanwhile recommends the utilization of AZD1222 vaccine in line with the Prioritization Roadmap (4) although variants are present in a nation. Nations can also aloof conduct a serve-possibility evaluate in line with the native epidemiological teach including the extent of circulating virus variants.

These preliminary findings highlight the urgent need for a coordinated ability for surveillance and review of variants and their doable impact on vaccine effectiveness. WHO will continue to show screen the teach; as fresh files develop into accessible, ideas will be up to this point accordingly.

SARS-CoV-2 tests

Prior receipt of the vaccine is no longer going to enjoy an set on the outcomes of SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid amplification or antigen tests for prognosis of acute/present SARS-CoV-2 an infection. Nonetheless, it’s miles important to present that in the meanwhile accessible antibody tests for SARS-CoV- 2 assess levels of IgM and/or IgG to the spike or the nucleocapsid protein. The vaccine contains the spike protein; thus, a particular take a look at for spike protein IgM or IgG can also present both prior an infection or prior vaccination. To recall present of for evidence of prior an infection in an individual who has bought the AZD1222 vaccine, a take a look at that particularly evaluates IgM or IgG to the nucleocapsid protein ought to be aged. A favorable nucleocapsid protein-essentially essentially based mostly assay signifies prior an infection, while a negative nucleocapsid protein-essentially essentially based mostly assay is anticipated after vaccination (except a natural an infection has occurred). Antibody sorting out is no longer in the meanwhile instructed to assess immunity to COVID-19 following AZD1222 vaccination.

Role of vaccines among a quantity of preventive measures

As there’s no longer yet sufficient evidence of an live of the vaccine on transmission, nonpharmaceutical interventions must continue, including employ of face masks, bodily distancing, handwashing and a quantity of measures as appropriate in particular settings, reckoning on the COVID-19 epidemiology and doable risks of emerging variants. Government advice on nonpharmaceutical interventions can also aloof continue to be adopted by vaccinated people, as neatly as those who enjoy no longer yet been vaccinated. This recommendation will be up to this point as files on the impact of vaccination on virus transmission and oblique security in the neighborhood is assessed.

Community engagement, efficient communication, and legitimacy

Community engagement and efficient communication (including possibility communication) are important to the success of COVID -19 vaccination programmes. Prioritization selections ought to be made thru clear processes that are in line with shared values, the most spirited accessible scientific evidence, and appropriate illustration and input by affected occasions. Moreover, communication referring to the mechanism of motion of vector-essentially essentially based mostly vaccines, and efficacy and security files derived from clinical trials and put up- marketing research, as neatly as background mortality, maternal and neonatal outcomes and rates of detrimental occasions of particular curiosity (AESI) in groups prioritized for vaccination, wishes to be bolstered. Suggestions can also aloof encompass: (i) culturally acceptable and linguistically


accessible communications concerning COVID-19 vaccination made freely accessible; (ii) energetic neighborhood engagement and involvement of neighborhood view leaders and depended on voices to toughen consciousness and understanding of such communications; and (iii) inclusion of various and affected stakeholder opinions in decision-making. Such efforts are especially important in subpopulations who would be uncommon with or distrustful of health care systems and immunization.

Vaccination logistics

The vaccine is presented as a 10-dose vial with stopper (elastomeric with aluminium overseal), delivered in packs containing 10 multidose vials. Unopened multidose vials ought to be kept in a fridge (2 °C to 8 °C) and might per chance well per chance no longer be frozen. Once a vial has been opened (first needle puncture), it ought to be dealt with in line with the WHO initiate vial coverage and be discarded on the discontinue of the immunization session or within six hours of opening, whichever comes first. Interior this length, the product would be saved and aged at temperatures as much as 30 °C (6, 7).

In present to toughen the traceability of organic medicinal products, the determine and the batch replacement of the administered product ought to be clearly recorded in patient data.

When scheduling vaccination for occupational groups, e.g., scientific examiners, consideration ought to be given to the reactogenicity profile of AZD1222 vaccine noticed in clinical trials, that would also on occasion lead to day off work in the 24–48 hours following vaccination.

In brooding referring to the programme implications of imposing these ideas, particular attention ought to be given to equity, including the feasibility, acceptability, and effectiveness of the programme in resource-constrained settings.

Tricks on addressing present knowledge gaps thru further research

WHO recommends the following put up-authorization monitoring actions and research.

Safety surveillance and monitoring:

severe detrimental occasions, anaphylaxis and a quantity of severe allergy symptoms, Bell`s palsy, transverse myelitis, cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome following vaccination, cases of COVID-19 following vaccination that end result in hospitalization or dying;

background rates of AESIs, maternal and neonatal outcomes, and mortality in groups prioritized for vaccination.

Vaccine effectiveness:

vaccine effectiveness in older people;

vaccine effectiveness in relation to time interval between the foremost and 2d dose;

vaccine effectiveness in relation to fresh virus variants;

vaccine effectiveness over time and whether security might per chance well also be prolonged by booster doses;

booster research with heterologous vaccines;

research to study whether this vaccine reduces SARS-CoV-2 transmission and viral shedding;

evaluate and reporting of leap forward infections and virus sequence files;

head-to-head research with a quantity of vaccines on extent and length of immunity the utilization of standardized neutralization, T-cell and mucosal immunity assays.


doable research on the safety of AZD1222 vaccine in pregnant and lactating girls folk;

randomized controlled trials on efficacy and security of vaccination in people under the age of 18 years;

security files on vaccination in immunocompromised people, including people living with HIV and people with autoimmune disease.

Vaccination logistics

immunogenicity and security research of co-administration with a quantity of vaccines, including influenza and pneumococcal vaccines, to adults and older people;

security, immunogenicity, and impact of a delayed 2d dose, as in the meanwhile utilized by particular international locations;

interchangeability and “mix and match” research within and at some level of COVID-19 vaccine platforms;

stability of vaccine under replacement icy-chain distribution and storage prerequisites.

Virus variants

world surveillance of virus evolution and the impact of virus variants on vaccine effectiveness to augment update of vaccines;

Modelling to resolve the change-offs for the utilization of vaccines with lowered effectiveness against emergent variants;

Booster research with up to this point vaccine formulations.


Unprecedented assembly of the Strategic Advisory Community of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) – 8 February 2021. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2021 (—8-february-2021,accessed 8 February 2021).

SAGE guidance for the advance of evidence-essentially essentially based mostly vaccination-linked ideas. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2017 (, accessed 8 February 2021).

Evidence to ideas for COVID-19 vaccines: evidence framework. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2020 (, accessed 10 February 2021).

WHO SAGE roadmap for prioritizing makes employ of of COVID-19 vaccines in the context of restricted provide. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2020 ( employ of-of-covid-19-vaccines-in-the-context-of-restricted-provide, accessed 8 February 2021).

WHO SAGE values framework for the allocation and prioritization of COVID-19 vaccination. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2020 (, accessed 8 February 2021).

COVID-19 vaccine AstraZeneca. European Medicines Agency (https://www.ema.europa.european/en/documents/product-files/covid-19-vaccine-astrazeneca-product-files-approved-chmp-29-january-2021-pending-endorsement_en.pdf, accessed 8 February 2021).

WHO Policy Commentary: Multi-dose Vial Policy (MDVP)

( with/10665/135972/WHO_IVB_14.07_eng.pdf, accessed 8 February 2021).

Funding provide

SAGE contributors and SAGE working group contributors make no longer receive any remuneration from the Organization for any work linked to the SAGE. The SAGE secretariat is funded thru core contributions to WHO.


This document became as soon as developed in consultation with:

Exterior: Contemporary contributors of the Strategic Advisory Community of Experts (SAGE) on Immunization and the SAGE Working Groupon COVID-19 Vaccines.

WHO: Annelies Wilder-Smith, Joachim Hombach, Melanie Marti, Susan Wang, Katherine O’Brien.

WHO continues to show screen the teach closely for any adjustments that can per chance per chance per chance enjoy an set on this intervening time guidance. Must aloof any elements commerce, WHO will teach an additional update. In any other case, this intervening time guidance document will expire 2 years after the date of newsletter.

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