Denmark to extend suspension of AstraZeneca COVID shot amid doubts

Grant Boone
March 26, 2021

AstraZeneca reports slightly lowered efficacy of 7.

European Union attacks on AstraZeneca call into question its decision not to profit from its coronavirus vaccine, according to a leading member of the scientific team that delivered the breakthrough.

"Among other things, it's about understanding if there is a mechanical explanation as to whether this is caused by the vaccine and also if there are specific groups that one can rule out", she said.

Earlier Wednesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top US infectious disease expert, told reporters he hoped that when all the data was publicly vetted by federal regulators, it would dispel any hesitancy caused by the spat.

The latest analysis finds the vaccine to be 76% effective against symptomatic COVID-19 and 100% effective against severe or critical disease and hospitalization.

Then last week a scare over blood clots had some countries temporarily pausing inoculations.

Health officials in neighbouring Finland said late Wednesday that the country would resume using the AstraZeneca vaccine on Monday after a pause of over a week, but only would administer it to people over 65.

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"It can not be ruled out. that there may be a connection between the vaccine and the very unusual disease picture that we are looking at", Danish Medicines Agency director Tanja Erichsen told a press briefing on Thursday.

"Many studies have been launched, but we do not yet have any conclusions". It didn't provide a breakdown of the rest of the cases. Such rifts during ongoing studies typically remain confidential.

Data published by the State's medicines watchdog the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) this evening showed that ten people who have received the vaccine in Ireland so far have reported clotting. The study didn't turn up safety concerns.

The updated information "confirms that our covid-19 vaccine is highly effective in adults, including those aged 65 years and over", AstraZeneca research chief Mene Pangalos said in a statement. He said the company looks forward to "the rollout of millions of doses across America". AstraZeneca cautioned that 14 additional possible cases already are being examined and that could lead to further changes in the data.

Those who have been vaccinated with the company's vaccine are told to seek immediate medical attention if they develop symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain, leg swelling, persistent abdominal pain following vaccination. The agency will publicly debate all the evidence with its outside advisers before making a decision.

The Niti Aayog official emphasised that both vaccines - Covishield and Covaxin - now in use in India were effective against the Brazilian and United Kingdom strains.

The uncertainty surrounding the vaccine seems to have had an effect on Danish confidence.

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