SA’s pause of its rollout of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine in response to concern about a local coronavirus variant sparked global debate — and shone a spotlight on how the country’s science has become vital to understanding where the pandemic may go next.

The government delayed the rollout last week after an initial finding that AstraZeneca’s vaccine failed to protect against milder Covid-19 infections involving the 501.V2 variant. It will now use Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine to start inoculations instead...

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