UK Authorizes Covid Vaccine From Oxford and AstraZeneca
Jan 01 2021
The AstraZeneca/Oxford shot, unlikely to be approved for some time by European Union or US regulators, will start being administered on Monday, beginning with those most at risk from Covid-19. Both vaccines authorized by the FDA for emergency use are two-dose series vaccines.
In a change in the government's strategy to administer vaccinations, the rollout of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine and the Pfizer vaccine will follow a new approach advised by the U.K.'s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JVCI) that prioritizes widely administering the first dose.
Oxford researchers said that the more successful outcome was an "intriguing result" that merited further testing.
J&J had kicked off a final trial of the single-shot COVID-19 vaccine in September.
"And we feel that that result may be related to that interval, rather than the dose itself", he said.
Health Canada is still reviewing the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine and has not yet granted approval for use.
'Whilst information on vaccines is available on the coronavirus website, you may also wish to speak to a health professional before you make a final decision.
Governments need to secure widespread public acceptance of a new vaccine in order to achieve so-called "herd immunity", but have to contend with anti-vaccine campaigns able to spread their messages rapidly through social media.
More than 944,000 people had been given the Pfizer vaccine by December 27, the health ministry said.
The Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine has been approved for use in the United Kingdom, marking the second vaccine approved by the country this month.
Pfizer sounded cautious on the prospect of shifting the schedule of its second dose, noting it had not been evaluated on different dosing schedules.
"Whilst the NHS, through all of your work, has so far vaccinated over one million United Kingdom patients with a first dose, approximately 30 million United Kingdom patients and health and social care workers eligible for vaccination in phase one remain totally unprotected and many are distressed or anxious about the wait for their turn".
AstraZeneca and Oxford's vaccine developed against Covid-19 can be stored, transported, and handled at normal refrigerator temperatures, making it an attractive option for countries around the world vis-a-vis its counterparts Pfizer and Moderna. He said he could not say more pending publication of new data.
Bell helped to oversee Oxford's vaccine development with AstraZeneca. The MHRA was due to brief reporters shortly.
In a coronavirus data briefing marking the vaccine's approval in the UK, MHRA boss Dr Raine strongly insisted that "no corners, whatsoever" had been cut.
At the time, EVP Mene Pangalos described the use of the half-dose regimen in AZ's phase 3 as a mistake, though the apparent efficacy boost motivated the British drugmaker to dig deeper.
"More needs to be known because many points about these decisions remain unclear".
In its statement, Pfizer said surveillance is needed on any alternative vaccination schedules, and that authorities should work to ensure each recipient is afforded the maximum possible protection.
A new official Chinese study said that infections in Wuhan may have been 10 times higher than official figures suggest.