According to a new study, the Covid-19 vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and the British-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca is more effective than previously determined and does not lead to a higher risk of thrombosis. The company presented the study results determined in the United States, Chile and Peru on Monday. AstraZeneca’s vaccine has not yet been approved in the USA; the company is now planning to start the process required for this.
AstraZeneca announced on Monday that an independent group of experts had raised no safety concerns. The specific search for blood clots in the brain, so-called sinus thrombosis, did not yield any results. Vaccinations with AstraZeneca had been stopped in several European countries after reports of blood clots in patients, but they have now been restarted almost everywhere. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the World Health Organization (WHO) spoke out in favor of sticking to the vaccine. In Austria there was no vaccination stop with the vaccine.
One hundred percent effect in severe cases
The new study shows that the Covid-19 vaccine is one hundred percent effective against severe disease that requires hospitalization. The overall effectiveness against the virus is therefore 79 percent. Reports of weaker protection against infection had accompanied the vaccine for a long time. In addition, it was only released for people over 65 in Austria at the beginning of the month after initially insufficient data on this age group was available.
A total of more than 32,000 people took part in the survey in the three countries. The AstraZeneca remedy is a so-called vector vaccine, which is based on cold viruses from monkeys as “carriers”. It can be stored and transported at normal refrigerator temperatures, while the mRNA vaccines from Biontech / Pfizer and Moderna must be stored frozen.
Effective and safe
“Another large clinical study with over 30,000 people has shown that AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine is safe and effective,” said Botond Ponner, Medical Director of AstraZeneca Austria, in a written statement. “Our vaccine offered complete protection against serious illnesses and hospitalization. This protection applied regardless of whether the people were over or under 65 years of age,” he emphasized that it was effective across all age groups.
Reports of thrombosis related to the AstraZeneca vaccine have recently further decreased confidence in the safety of the AstraZeneca vaccine in Germany, Spain, France and Italy, according to a survey conducted in individual countries. Around 55 percent of Germans consider the vaccine to be unsafe and less than a third to be safe, according to the survey by the polling institute YouGov. In France, 61 percent of respondents said the vaccine was unsafe. A majority of the British, however, still consider the drug, which was co-developed by Oxford University, to be safe.
At the end of February, Europeans were more reluctant to adopt the vaccine than those from BioNTech / Pfizer and Moderna. The suspension of vaccinations with the Swedish-British manufacturer’s vaccine due to concerns about blood clots has further damaged public perception of safety, YouGov said. (apa, dpa, reuters)