While several safety issues have been associated with the COVID-19 vaccine first developed at the University of Oxford and then licensed by AstraZeneca COVID-19 known as ChAdOx1 nCoV-2019 (AZD1222 or Vaxzevria), recent study results suggest a boost involving this vaccine is effective at preventing SARS-CoV-2, the virus behind COVID-19—thus offering a significant level of protection. But the reader here is reminded of the risks associated with this vaccine has well. Numerous countries worldwide have opted to either temporarily or permanently stop the use of this vaccine targeting COVID-19.
TrialSite has reported that numerous nations halted the use of this vaccine due to safety issues. In fact, the United States never accepted this COVID-19 vaccine. Suspensions of the use of ChAdOx1 nCoV-2019 (AZD1222) have occurred around the world, yet few in America or the UK even know this as the mainstream media keeps a lid on such news.
For example, several nations in Europe from Austria to Norway and Germany, not to mention Denmark, Iceland, Bulgaria, Ireland, Italy, Spain, France, and the Netherlands have all halted the vaccine rollout over safety issues. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) did conclude its review, finding overall, the benefits outweighed the risks for most cohorts. Thus, many EU nations continued use but many with specific restrictions—for example limiting to use in the elderly who face high risk associated with severe COVID-19.
In cases such as Norway, the health agency in that Nordic nation put a permanent suspension with the AstraZeneca vaccine due to “rare but severe incidents with low platelet counts, blood clots, and hemorrhages.” They found that for many in Norway the actual risks of death associated with the vaccines were higher than with the COVID-19 disease itself. In fact, the Prime Minister of Norway made the call to stop the AstraZeneca vaccine altogether for the second COVID-19 vaccine dose.Subscribe to the Trialsitenews “COVID-19” ChannelNo spam – we promise
In Germany, the Ministry of Health stopped the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine in people aged 60 and lower. Younger people could still get the vaccine, but only “at the discretion of doctors, and after individual risk analysis and thorough explanation.”
Meanwhile, by the Spring of 2021, Denmark’s Health Authority stopped any use of the vaccine.
Other countries that stopped or suspended use include South Africa, Canada, Indonesia, and Australia.
Recent Positive Results
In the meantime, however, a few individuals associated with the original development of this vaccine report the latest research results. Professor Andrew Pollard directs the Oxford Vaccine Group and served as Chief Investigator of the Oxford Vaccine Trial went on the record:
“These findings show that we have an effective vaccine that will save many lives. Excitingly, we’ve found that one of our dosing regimens may be around 90% effective and if this dosing regimen is used, more people could be vaccinated with planned vaccine supply. Today’s announcement is only possible thanks to the many volunteers in our trial, and the hard-working and talented team of researchers based around the world.”
The Recent University of Oxford led Study
The University of Oxford laboratory study assessed the neutralization of Omicron by a large panel of sera collected from convalescent early pandemic, Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and Delta infected individuals, as well as from individuals that had received three doses of Vaxzevria or the Pfizer BioNtech (BNT162b2) vaccines. In total, samples were analyzed from 41 individuals that had received three doses of Vaxzevria, and 20 individuals that had received three doses of Pfizer BioNtech (BNT162b2) vaccine.
Called Vaxzevria (ChAdOx1-S [Recombinant], formerly AZD1222), was co-invented by the University of Oxford and its spin-out company, Vaccitech. It uses a replication-deficient chimpanzee viral vector based on a weakened version of a common cold virus (adenovirus) that causes infections in chimpanzees and contains the genetic material of the SARS-CoV-2 virus spike protein. After vaccination, the surface spike protein is produced, priming the immune system to attack the SARS-CoV-2 virus if it later infects the body.
The vaccine has been granted conditional marketing authorization or emergency use in more than 90 countries. It also has Emergency Use Listing from the World Health Organization, which accelerates the pathway to access in up to 142 countries through the COVAX Facility.
Under a sub-license agreement with AstraZeneca, the vaccine is manufactured and supplied by the Serum Institute of India under the name COVISHIELD.
While this vaccine represented tremendous promise, particularly for low-cost distribution in low-and middle-income countries (LMICs) the number of suspensions and halts due to reported safety issues suggests a mixed result at best.