In the Worldwide fight against COVID-19, the British-Swedish firm AstraZeneca who made a vaccine has been one of the sources of great hope. Due to the fact that it’s easier to store than the rest, it requires only refrigeration instead of a deep freeze and the firm partnered with many other manufacturers as efforts were made to make it available to countries across the globe at a reduced cost, and pledged to make the vaccine, made by researchers at the University of Oxford.
However, the vaccine has been getting into trouble as the early efficacy claims are now being contested. Recently, over 20 European countries stopped using the vaccines for a while, after more than a dozen individuals who were recently vaccinated developed unusual clotting problems. Eventually, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) investigated the matter and Immunization began again.
The vaccine has suffered a new blow as the results of the American trials which ended lingering doubts was rebuffed by the Data and Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) who were monitoring the studies. It was revealed that AstraZeneca had presented outdated data on efficacy, as it was the most favourable data. DSMB wanted that to be corrected as they were appointed by Anthony Fauci the director of the U.S. National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).
The NIAID reported that AstraZeneca had presented an incomplete view of the data for efficacy.
The results of the trials in the US, Chile and Peru which had a 79% efficacy and prevented Covid-19 symptoms had caused public health experts to start believing that the vaccine would be used in the US even though AstraZeneca had not yet filed any request for an emergency use authorization.
It is not yet clear how much the slowdown in the use of AstraZeneca will affect the progress that is being made in the fight against Covid-19.
Locally, last Monday, PM Andrew Holness along with his wife Juliet Holness took the vaccine after which he stated
“I am happy to have received my first dose of the COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccine. The registration process was smooth and my experience was quite pleasant. Our goal is to ensure that when persons come to take the vaccine, it is done in an orderly manner and that the process is safe for all concerned”.
He continued “I want to assure the public that your Government is putting in the requisite measures to ensure the continued effective roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccination programme”.
The leader of the opposition Mark Golding also took the AstraZeneca vaccine and said the following “I know that as leaders we need to set an example. I think at a time when there is widespread skepticism we must do our best to encourage compliance with the protocols in place to keep us safe.”