"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

AstraZeneca's COVID vaccine withdrawn – in spite of everything it was a victim of misinformation

The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine was a very important a part of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, on 7 May 2024, European Commission announced that the vaccine is not any longer authorized to be used.

One before this announcement by the European Union Application To withdraw the EU marketing authorization from AstraZeneca on 27 March 2024. This development is roofed in various Media outlets As related mainly to known “adverse events”, that’s, a really low risk of blood clots. However, other aspects usually tend to drive this decision.

The first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, outside of clinical trials, was under administration On 4 January 2021. About 2.5 billion doses were administered this 12 months, and Estimated 6.3 million lives saved.

It was a staple product at the peak of the pandemic. This includes the emergence of the delta variant in India in the primary half of 2021 where, amid significant global supply issues, the AstraZeneca vaccine was one in all the few tools available during this humanitarian crisis.

Professor Sarah Gilbert led the Oxford University team that helped develop the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.
PA Images/Global Stock Photos

This COVID vaccine, like Pfizer, Moderna, Novavax and others, has undergone adequate levels of testing. gave Phase 3 trials (where the vaccine is tested on hundreds of individuals) showed that the AstraZeneca product is secure and effective. It was distributed in lots of countries in Europe, including the UK, in early 2021.

Potential opposed events related to blood clots were publicly reported in February 2021, for instance, the UK government and the Medicines Regulator (MHRA) then published a Statement 18 March 2021 regarding its continued use.

Between speculation and investigation, European Medicines Agency And World Health Organization Both highlighted how the advantages of vaccines far outweigh any potential risks.

This was at a time when the extent of COVID was very high, and was increasing throughout. 4 million Globally, latest cases are confirmed every week.

It is well established that COVID itself significantly increases the chance of those associated blood clots (thrombocytopenia). 1 August 2021, Analysis 30 million vaccinated people within the UK showed that the risks of thrombocytopenic events after COVID infection were much higher than with some other COVID-related vaccine.

From this study, the British Heart Foundation Explain How for each 10 million people vaccinated with AstraZeneca, there are 66 extra cases of blood clots within the veins and 7 extra cases of a rare sort of blood clot within the brain. By comparison, an estimated 12,614 additional cases of blood clots within the veins and 20 cases of rare blood clots within the brain were attributable to COVID infection.

To put that into some perspective, blood clotting rates related to these vaccines are much lower than with many widely prescribed medications. For example, the The combined contraceptive pillWidely prescribed for ladies, there’s a one in 1,000 risk of blood clots. With women taking postmenopausal hormone therapy One in 300 each year Blood clots are more likely to develop.

Poor public profile

The AstraZeneca vaccine suffered from a poor public profile, much of it undeserved. There was some poor quality. Reporting in Germany in January 2021, with the claim that the vaccine was only “8% effective in the elderly”. This claim was widely repeated, however it seems that the 8% figure referred to the share of individuals over 65 within the study and never the efficacy measure.

The anti-vaccine lobby had a field day with the fuel. “infodemic”including other false claims comparable to fabricated links between vaccines and feminine infertility. As with blood clots, COVID is understood to extend infection. Risks of InfertilityBut there isn’t any connection between infertility and vaccines.

Compensation schemes can be found for people and families who can have been injured by any drug, including any COVID vaccine. Many claimants report difficulties and frustrations in accessing compensation. This is an area where government-led schemes needs to be more transparent, and in addition where misinformation from the anti-vaccine lobby hinders the very groups they claim to support.

So, why would AstraZeneca withdraw this high-profile product? One reason for the withdrawal could also be that other COVID vaccines, comparable to Pfizer and Moderna, are fundamentally higher products.

AstraZeneca is great, however the mRNA version is better Level of effectiveness and safety.

Initial concerns concerning the difficulties of specialised refrigeration required to move and store Pfizer and Moderna's vaccines, including in low-income countries, have been overcome. There are also mRNA vaccines. easy To be updated as latest forms emerge.

With these aspects, AstraZeneca vaccine orders are probably lower now than in previous years. It is being missed in favor of higher performing vaccines.

For the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine, perhaps its time has indeed passed. But it has been a secure and effective vaccine and a very important a part of the pandemic response for many countries world wide.