More Troubles for AstraZeneca Covid Vaccine
This time it's Canada, which has halted use of the vaccine for people under the age of 55 because of possible side effects reported in Europe. Meanwhile, Johnson & Johnson will supply 400 million doses of its vaccine to the African Union.
The Wall Street Journal:
Canada Urges Halt In Use Of AstraZeneca Covid-19 Vaccine In People Under 55
Canadian authorities recommended Monday a halt on administering the AstraZeneca PLC Covid-19 vaccine on people under the age of 55 in light of evidence from Europe on potentially serious side effects targeting younger women. The change in guidance marked a sharp shift from Canadian health officials, who up until now have said the AstraZeneca vaccine was safe for people of all ages—a point they emphasized earlier this month when governments in Europe paused the vaccine’s use amid worries over blood clotting. This also marks the latest setback for the British-Swedish drugmaker, which has faced pushback from governments, regulators and the public about the rollout of its vaccine. (Vieira and Mackrael, 3/29)
Canada Halting AstraZeneca Vaccine Shots For People 55 And Younger
Canada's National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommended Monday that the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine should not be used in adults under age 55 while rare cases of serious blood clots following vaccination are being investigated, according to a release from the committee. The rare cases of serious blood clots, known as vaccine-induced prothrombotic immune thrombocytopenia (VIPIT), have recently been reported in Europe following post-licensure use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, primarily in women under the age of 55. (Riess and Almasy, 3/29)
Johnson & Johnson To Supply 400M COVID Vaccine Doses To African Union
Johnson & Johnson has inked a deal with the African Union (AU) to supply up to 400 million doses of its coronavirus vaccine starting in the third quarter of the year, the drugmaker announced Monday. Disparities in vaccine access remain a challenge for Africans, especially as the continent struggles to contain the coronavirus variant that originated in South Africa. (Chen, 3/29)
In other development news —
The Growing Fight Over Coronavirus Vaccine Patents
A growing chorus of advocates wants to weaken some of the intellectual property protections for coronavirus vaccines, which they say will quickly expand global supplies. But critics say the move wouldn't work, and would set a bad precedent. The Biden administration is evaluating the idea, including whether it would work as intended. (Owens, 3/30)
How MRNA Technology Could Change The World
Synthetic mRNA, the ingenious technology behind the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, might seem like a sudden breakthrough, or a new discovery. One year ago, almost nobody in the world knew what an mRNA vaccine was, for the good reason that no country in the world had ever approved one. Months later, the same technology powered the two fastest vaccine trials in the history of science. (Thompson, 3/29)
Ask KHN-PolitiFact: How Can Covid Vaccines Be Safe When They Were Developed So Fast?
The development of the first covid vaccines may have seemed to occur at a dizzying pace. After all, scientists identified a new virus and created vaccines to protect against its most severe effects within a year. But the research underpinning these vaccines isn’t that new at all, vaccine experts say. Some of it is decades old. This foundation, combined with technical expertise, urgency and financial resources, enabled scientists to pull off the medical marvel. (Heredia Rodriguez, 3/30)