(Photo by Alet Pretorius/Gallo Images via Getty Images

A general view of hospital workers during Health MEC Dr Bandile Masuku and Minister of Health Dr Zweli Mkhize visit to Tshwane District Hospital to monitor the level of preparedness as the Province has become the epicentre for COVID-19 on July 10, 2020 in Tshwane, South Africa.

South Africa Suspends COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout Plan Due to Resistant Variant

The South African government has decided to suspend the Oxford AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine rollout plan after clinical trials show poor results.

South Africa has reportedly announced that the country's COVID-19 vaccine rollout with Oxford AstraZeneca has been suspended. This comes after South African Health Minister Dr. Zweli Mkhize publicly revealed that the latest trial data showed that the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine offers limited protection against the latest coronavirus variant, 501Y.V2. South Africa received the first batch of one million doses of the vaccine from India last Monday. The health department's vaccine rollout plan was set to commence this February with the first stage aimed at healthcare workers.

Read: South Africa Announces COVID-19 Rollout Plan

According to Al Jazeera Mkhize explained that the discovery of new information and mutations of the coronavirus have led to putting a hold on initial plans: "When new information is brought to light and viruses change and mutate, decisions need to be made. This is possibly why the AstraZeneca vaccine rollout is on hold for now". The health minister called the suspension a temporary issue and stated that vaccinations will proceed according to the initial plan with a different pharmaceutical supplier. Vaccines from Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer will reportedly be delivered in the country over the next four weeks, this according to IOL.

AztraZeneca on the other hand has reportedly claimed the vaccine to be effective, reporting that none of the 2000 trial participants developed serious symptoms of coronavirus. However, the University of the Witwatersrand which conducted the AztraZeneca vaccine trial stated that the vaccine "provides minimal protection against mild-moderate COVID-19 infection". Admittedly, the vaccine trail was conducted at the end of South Africa's first wave while the 501Y.V2 variant was discovered a few months later in the second wave.

Mkhize stated that the AztraZeneca vaccine batch will remain until scientists clear it for utilisation. The Johnson and Johnson vaccine has reportedly shown to be 85 percent effective against the 501Y.V2 variant. Nine million doses are expected from Johnson & Johnson, 20 million from Pfizer and 12 million from the Covax facility. According to News24, the University of Oxford is in the middle of producing a "second generation vaccine" that will target variants resulting from the COVID-19 mutations.


Kofi Jamar Switches Lanes In 'Appetite for Destruction'

The Ghanaian rapper and "Ekorso" hitmaker presents a different sound in his latest EP.

The drill scene in Ghana has been making waves across the continent for some time now. If you're hip to what a crop of young and hungry artists from the city of Kumasi in Ghana and beyond have been doing over the past year, then you already know about rapper Kofi Jamar.

Towards the end of November last year he dropped one of the biggest drill songs to emerge from Ghana's buzzing drill scene, the popular street anthem "Ekorso." In the December and January that followed, "Ekorso" was the song on everyone's lips, the hip-hop song that took over the season, with even the likes of Wizkid spotted vibing to the tune.

Currently sitting at over 10 million streams across digital streaming platforms, the song topped charts, even breaking records in the process. "Ekorso" maintained the number one spot on Apple Music's Hip-Hop/Rap: Ghana chart for two months uninterrupted, a first in the history of the chart. It also had a good stint at number one of the Ghana Top 100 chart as well, among several other accolades.

Even though he's the creator of what could be the biggest song of Ghana's drill movement till date, Kofi Jamar doesn't plan on replicating his past music or his past moves. He has just issued his second EP, a 6-track project titled Appetite for Destruction, and it would surprise you to know that there isn't a single drill song on it. Although drill played a huge role in his meteoric rise, he wants to be known as way more than just a drill rapper. He wants to be known as a complete and versatile artist, unafraid to engage in any genre — and he even looks forward to creating his own genre of music during the course of his career.

We spoke to Kofi Jamar about his latest EP, and he tells us about working with Teni, why he's gravitating away from drill to a new sound, and more. Check out our conversation below.

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