AstraZeneca Vaccine

Health
Denmark and Austria suspend AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccination
Denmark and Austria suspend AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccination
Credit: Ashley Winkler for Pendect

This is due to reports of possible side effects with blood clots after vaccinations, the Danish health administration announced. According to the Danish health authority in Copenhagen, it has received reports of "severe cases of blood clots" in vaccinated persons. Government chief Mette Frederiksen confirmed to reporters outside a hospital in Herlev, Denmark, that the administration of the AstraZeneca vaccine would be paused.

"Currently, there is no indication of a causal connection with the vaccination," Austrian media ORF quotes BASG as saying. However, to be on the safe side, the affected vaccine batch would no longer be issued or vaccinated. In Austria, vaccination appointments were canceled at short notice this Sunday. About 6,000 vaccine doses were withdrawn. Of the affected batch, 37,000 doses have been vaccinated.

Regional News • Europe • Italy
Italy 'blocks' AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine shipment to Australia
Italy 'blocks' AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine shipment to Australia
Credit: Gencat (Creative Commons CC0 Waiver)

The Italian government has decided to block the export of a 250,000 doses shipment of the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine produced in Italy to Australia.

Italy is the first European Union country to use the bloc's new regulations allowing exports to be stopped if the company providing the vaccines has failed to meet its obligations to the EU.

Italy's new Prime Minister Mario Draghi, an influential figure in Europe as the former president of the European Central Bank, argued in a videoconference with EU leaders that the rules should be applied rigorously, furious at reductions by AstraZeneca of up to 70% in the doses it was contracted to provide.

Regional News • Europe • Germany
Germany now recommends AstraZeneca for people over 65
Germany now recommends AstraZeneca for people over 65
Credit: Ashley Winkler for Pendect

The German Standing Commission on Vaccination (Stiko) at the Robert Koch Institute now recommends AstraZeneca's vaccine for people older than 65. The Ministry of Health confirmed the change in a statement. The interval between the two vaccination doses is also to be extended.

Regional News • Europe • France
France will offer the Oxford/AstraZeneca Coronavirus vaccine to some people over 65
France will offer the Oxford/AstraZeneca Coronavirus vaccine to some people over 65
Credit: Gencat, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons CC0 Waiver)

France has lifted the age restriction of the Oxford/AstraZeneca Coronavirus vaccine. The vaccine will now be offered to "people aged 50 and above who have comorbidities such as diabetes, high blood pressure or a history of cancer can be vaccinated with AstraZeneca, including those aged 65 to 74."

“The Haute Autorité de Santé now considers as of today that all three vaccines that we have in France have a remarkable efficacy to protect people against the risk of severe forms of Covid-19,” Health minister Olivier Véran said.

Regional News • Americas • Canada
Canada authorizes the AstraZeneca's Coronavirus vaccine
ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine (AZD1222); Oxford University-AstraZeneca
ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine (AZD1222); Oxford University-AstraZeneca Credit: Agência Brasília, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Health Canada regulators authorized Oxford University-AstraZeneca's Coronavirus vaccine for adults 18+ on Friday.

"This is very encouraging news. It means more people vaccinated, and sooner. Because for AstraZeneca, just like we were for Pfizer and Moderna, we are ready to get doses rolling," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said. "Vaccines will keep arriving faster and faster as we head into the spring."

Regional News • Europe
AstraZeneca admits huge Covid-19 vaccine shortfall for EU
AstraZeneca admits huge Covid-19 vaccine shortfall for EU
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Ashley Winkler. (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Pascal Soriot, CEO of AstraZeneca, said to European lawmakers the company would deliver to the EU less than half the amount of Covid-19 vaccine doses that it pledged for the first quarter of 2021. The undersupply torpedoed the EU’s plan to use AstraZeneca as its main first vaccine during the first quarter.

Soriot also said, "we hope that by Q2 (the April-May-June second quarter), we can catch up to where we would like to be."

EU officials say ramped up deliveries from April by the Anglo-Swedish company and by BioNTech/Pfizer and Moderna mean that the 27-nation bloc remains on track to reach its goal of fully vaccinating 70% of adults by mid-September.

Health
Ghana becomes the first nation in the world to receive Covax vaccines
Ghana becomes the first nation in the world to receive Covax vaccines
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Ashley Winkler. (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Ghana received delivery of 600,000 doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 jabs acquired through the Covax initiative. The initiative is an immunisation-sharing scheme designed to help developing countries in the vaccination effort.

The United Nations-backed initiative delivered Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines produced by the Serum Institute of India.

The World Health Organization director Dr Tedros Adhanom previously said that bilateral deals between rich nationals and vaccine manufacturers have made it more difficult for Covax to acquire jabs, leading Rwanda's President Paul Kagame to condemn "hypocrisy and double standards" in global distribution efforts.

Regional News • World
WHO grants approval for AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine
WHO grants approval for AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine

The World Health Organization has granted approval for Oxford/AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine. The vaccine is easier to store and cheaper than its competitors and will be distributed mainly to low- and middle-income countries.

Regional News • World
AstraZeneca's vaccine has limited efficacy against South Africa variant – research
COVID-19 vaccine AstraZeneca Jan 2021 (UK)
COVID-19 vaccine AstraZeneca Jan 2021 (UK) Credit: Whispyhistory, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine offers limited protection against mild infection of the South African variant (B.1.351). This is according to initial results of a study conducted by South Africa's University of Witwatersrand and Oxford University, with which AstraZeneca co-developed the vaccine. Oxford University and AstraZeneca are reportedly adapting the vaccine for the mutation and predict it will be ready by autumn.

Health
Study finds AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine higher efficacy with a longer interval between the first and second dose
Study finds AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine higher efficacy with a longer interval between the first and second dose
Credit: Ashles Winkler for Pendect

An Oxford released a study shows that higher vaccine efficacy can be achieved with a longer interval between the first and second dose and that a single vaccine dose is highly effective in the first 90 days. The study, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, further showed that the AstraZeneca vaccine can cut transmission of the virus by two-thirds and prevented severe disease.

“That reduction in transmission, as well as the fact there is no hospitalizations, the combination of that is very good news. And it categorically supports the strategy we’ve been taking on having a 12-week gap between the doses,” Hancock told Sky News on Wednesday.

Regional News • Europe • European Union
BioNTech and Pfizer pledge 75m additional doses to EU
BioNTech and Pfizer pledge 75m additional doses to EU
Credit: Pfizer, BioNTech

On Monday, BioNTech and Pfizer said they would increase their Covid-19 vaccine delivery the European Union in the second quarter of 2021, pledging an additional 75 million doses. Both BioNTech-Pfizer and AstraZeneca have recently experienced production delays, resulting in slower vaccine distribution schedules in the EU.

Regional News • Europe • Germany
Germany set to limit AstraZeneca vaccine to under-65s
AstraZeneca Logo
AstraZeneca Logo Credit: AstraZeneca

Germany's vaccine commission STIKO said on Thursday that AstraZeneca's Covid-19 jab should only be administered to people aged 64 and under due to the lack of data regarding the vaccine's effectiveness for older people.

"There is currently insufficient data to assess the efficacy of the vaccine for persons aged 65 years and older," the scientific committee said in the resolution made available by the German Health Ministry.

Health
Europen Medicine Agency approves AstraZeneca vaccine
Europen Medicine Agency approves AstraZeneca vaccine
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Ashley Winkler.

The EMA has recommended conditional market approval for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine claiming the vaccine "was safe and effective at preventing COVID-19 in people from 18 years of age."

Germany's vaccine commission had said on Thursday that it could not recommend the use of the jabs on people aged 65 years and older because efficacy data for the group were lacking.

Regional News • Europe • European Union
Redacted contract between European Commission and AstraZeneca now published
Screenshot of the contract between European Commission and AstraZeneca
Screenshot of the contract between European Commission and AstraZeneca

Following the renewed request from the European Commission on 27 January 2021, pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca has agreed to the publication of its partially redacted contract with the EU. Redactions were made mainly in those places where it concerns deadlines for promised deliveries and their scope.

Following the surprise announcement that it would deliver only 31 million units by the end of March instead of the agreed minimum of 80 million, Astra Zeneca promised 39 million doses earlier this week. However, the EU had judged this offer to be insufficient as the vaccine delivery was still fifty percent below the originally agreed figure.

Regional News • Europe • European Union
EU demands insight into Astrazeneca data amidst vaccine supply shortages
EU demands insight into Astrazeneca data amidst vaccine supply shortages
Credit: Ashley Winkler for Pendect

The EU Commission is demanding insight into the data of the pharmaceutical company Astrazeneca. "The EU is demanding information from the company by Jan. 29 at the latest on why it wants to supply fewer vaccine doses to the EU," EU Commission circles said Monday evening after another meeting of company representatives with members of the EU states. There was not enough clarity and explanation from Astrazenecas, EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides said on Twitter.

Health
AstraZeneca applies for approval of Covid-19 in European Union
AstraZeneca applies for approval of Covid-19 in European Union
Credit: Ashley Winkler for Pendect

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has announced that AstraZeneca has applied for approval of their Covid-19 which has been developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University.

According to the EMA "the assessment of the vaccine, known as COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca, will proceed under an accelerated timeline" and added that "an opinion on the marketing authorisation could be issued by 29 January during the meeting of EMA’s scientific committee for human medicines (CHMP), provided that the data submitted on the quality, safety and efficacy of the vaccine are sufficiently robust and complete and that any additional information required to complete the assessment is promptly submitted."

Regional News • Europe • United Kingdom
UK to roll out Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine starting Monday

The UK is set to start administering the new Covid-19 vaccine from Oxford University and the AstraZeneca group on Monday, stating that the "NHS will be the first health service in the world to provide this life-saving vaccine."

The vaccine will initially be delivered in a small number of hospitals, but will be widely distributed to hundreds of vaccination centers later this week.

Regional News • Asia • India
India approves Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine for emergency use

An expert panel of India's Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) approved the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine for emergency use on Friday, making it the third country to approve the vaccine. The CDSCO may also approve a locally developed vaccine by Bharat Biotech and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) soon.

Health
AstraZeneca likely to do another study of Covid-19 vaccine after accidental lower dose shows higher efficacy
AstraZeneca likely to do another study of Covid-19 vaccine after accidental lower dose shows higher efficacy
Credit: unsplash/ Obi Onyeador

AstraZeneca and Oxford University on Wednesday acknowledged a manufacturing error that has raised questions about their Covid-19 vaccine after revealing earlier this week it was “highly effective” against the disease. AstraZeneca is likely to conduct an additional global trial to assess the efficacy of its Covid-19 vaccine, according to the company’s CEO.

The vaccine's rollout to the rest of the world likely won't be affected, according to AstraZeneca's CEO, since the studies that have been conducted, including safety data, are already in place from participants around the world outside of the U.S.

While vaccine candidates from Moderna and Pfizer have also shown robust efficacy in early Phase 3 data, hopes are riding high on the AstraZeneca version because it relies on a different technology, can be stored and transported at standard refrigerator temperatures rather than frozen, and costs just a fraction per dose compared to the other two leading vaccines in development.

Health
AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine averages 70% efficacy
AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine averages 70% efficacy
Credit: D Wells / via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca announced Monday that its Covid-19 vaccine has shown an average efficacy of 70% in large-scale trials. When given as a half dose followed by a full dose a month later, it showed 90% efficacy and with two full doses given a month apart, it showed 62% efficacy.

"What we've always tried to do with a vaccine is fool the immune system into thinking that there's a dangerous infection there that it needs to respond to -- but doing it in a very safe way. So we get the immune response and we get the immune memory ... waiting and ready if the pathogen itself is then encountered," so Professor Andrew Pollard, the trial's lead investigator at Oxford.