British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday that he was confident that both the AstraZeneca and Pfizer Covid-19 vaccines helped prevent death and grave illness, and that medicine was slowly gaining the upper hand over the coronavirus.
"We think that both the vaccines that we're currently using are effective in, as I say, in stopping serious disease and death," Johnson told reporters.
"We also think in particular in the case of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine that there's good evidence that it is stopping transmission, as well, I think 67 per cent reduction in transmission."
Western governments rushed to offer support for the AstraZeneca vaccination after South Africa halted its roll-out when research showed it offered minimal protection against mild infection from a variant spreading there.
French Health Minister Olivier Veran voiced support for the AstraZeneca vaccine, arguing it provided sufficient protection against "nearly all the variants" of the virus.
German Health Minister Jens Spahn said current evidence suggests all three vaccines approved in Europe — which include AstraZeneca — provided effective protection against serious infections.
Meanwhile, Johnson & Johnson will speed up deliveries of its vaccine to South Africa, a senior government official said, after the country suspended plans to roll out AstraZeneca shots due to disappointing trial data.