London [UK], February 8 (ANI/Sputnik): The UK government is "very confident" about the effectiveness of all the COVID-19 vaccines that the country has approved for use so far, despite South Africa's decision to pause the rollout of the AstraZeneca/Oxford University vaccine over fears that it offers less protection against a new coronavirus variant, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Monday.
"We're very confident in all the vaccines that we're using and I think it's important for people to bear in mind that all of them, we think, are effective in delivering a high degree of protection against serious illness and death, which is the most important thing," Johnson said during a visit to a coronavirus test kit manufacturing facility in the English county of Derbyshire.
The prime minister also noted that there was "good evidence" that the AstraZeneca/Oxford University vaccine was effective in reducing COVID-19 transmission.
Public health officials in South Africa said Sunday that they would pause the rollout of the AstraZeneca/Oxford University vaccine over fears that it offers less protection against a new highly infectious COVID-19 variant identified there.
The decision was taken after a fresh study showed that the vaccine offered "minimal protection" against mild and moderate COVID-19 from the strain first identified in South Africa.
More than 12 million people in the United Kingdom have received their first vaccine dose since the rollout of the government's mass immunization program. Public health officials in the UK are currently using the Pfizer/BioNTech and AstraZeneca/Oxford University vaccines to inoculate residents. (ANI/Sputnik)