Wednesday, 05 May, 2021


AstraZeneca's COVID vaccine 79% effective in major USA trial

Vaccine rollouts are beginning to accelerate in poorer parts of the world including Palestinian territories Vaccine rollouts are beginning to accelerate in poorer parts of the world including Palestinian territories
Hannah Rogers | 22 March, 2021, 21:30

"Without question, this vaccine is very effective and the European Medicines Agency has said it is a very safe vaccine", he added.

Speaking to Sky News, UK defence minister Ben Wallace said that "the world is watching" and that the European Union was seeking to "balkanise or build walls" around vaccine supplies that could "damage its reputation globally".

European leaders will meet on Thursday to decide whether to press ahead with a vaccine export ban after European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen on Sunday said British-headquartered AstraZeneca was at risk of breaching its supply obligations to European countries.

AstraZeneca says its vaccine was 79% effective at preventing any COVID-19 symptoms and 100% at preventing severe ones in large-scale US trials, and also had no safety issues with blood clots. Last fall, the FDA suspended the company's study for an unusual six weeks, as frustrated regulators sought information about some neurologic complaints reported in Britain; ultimately, there was no evidence the vaccine was to blame.

And the vaccine works just as well in people over-65s and doesn't cause severe side effects, the study also found.

"This is a message to AstraZeneca: You fulfil your part of the deal toward Europe before you start to deliver to other countries", von der Leyen said in an interview with German media group Funke.

A vaccinator administers the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 Vaccine at a medical center in Bridport, England, on March 20.

"I don't think they should go down this road of banning exports".

Workers unload the second shipment of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 coronavirus vaccine from a plane upon its arrival at the O R Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg on February 27, 2021.

The degree of effectiveness against symptomatic Covid-19 was even higher than observed in the Oxford-led clinical trials.

This may also be the good news the US has been waiting for before giving AstraZeneca the green light to offer its vaccine in the country, which regulators could roll out in the next month or two.

Stephen Evans, of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said the new data could help to allay concerns about the vaccine.

"I am not going to get into hypotheticals but our position is clear is that we do not want to see countries placing export restrictions on vaccinations", he said.

As tensions spiral in the ongoing vaccine row, the President of the European Commission has underscored that AstraZeneca had delivered only 30 percent of the 90 million vaccine doses it had promised for the first quarter of the year.

NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said: "In just one day we vaccinated the equivalent of the entire adult populations of Liverpool, Southampton and Oxford combined".

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace hit back by warning the manufacture of the Pfizer vaccine depends on supplies from the UK.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said "the world is watching" how the European Union responds to a shortfall in deliveries of the vaccine from the Anglo-Swedish pharma giant, and that Brussels' reputation was at stake.

"We are supplying the United Kingdom with other vaccines, so I think this is just about openness and transparency".

Ireland's EU commissioner Mairead McGuinness acknowledged on BBC1's Andrew Marr Show that European citizens were "growing angry and upset" that the vaccine rollout had "not happened as rapidly as we had anticipated".

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