French Health Minister Veran says he continues to support AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

PARIS, Feb 8 - French Health Minister Olivier Veran said on Monday that he continued to support the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, arguing it provided sufficient protection against “nearly all the variants” of the virus.

Veran was shown on French television receiving the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at a centre in Melun, France.

A British junior health minister said on Monday there was no evidence that the AstraZeneca vaccine did not prevent death or serious illness, and added South Africa had only imposed a temporary halt on using the vaccine.

South Africa decided to put on hold use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 shot in its vaccination programme after data showed it gave minimal protection against mild-to-moderate infection caused by the country’s dominant coronavirus variant. (Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Jon Boyle)