Renaming didn't help: Why refusals from AstraZeneca continue and why Ukraine ignores them?

Author : Tetyana Teren

Source :

A week ago, the British manufacturer changed the name of the AstraZeneca vaccine to Vaxzevria
22:45, 7 April 2021

Open source

The company hoped to whiten its reputation in this way - so that numerous scandals and deaths remained with the old brand.

But, as journalists predicted, the marketing ploy did not work. The vaccine continues to be banned for use, after its introduction, people continue to die, and foreign media now "bury" AstraZeneca.

In particular, data on the rigging of its effectiveness flared up and a clue emerged as to what caused thrombosis in patients.

At the same time, Ukraine is still far on the sidelines of this agenda. Kyiv is more interested in where to get the second dose of Covishield or AstraZeneca for full vaccination of those Ukrainians who have already received the first injection. And Ukraine prefers to bypass the topic of the danger of this vaccine.

AstraZeneca: new deaths and prohibitions

Germany. The German Ministry of Health has banned the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine for citizens under 60 years of age.

This happened on March 31 after the publication of new data from scientists about rare, but extremely serious side effects in the form of thrombosis and embolism in young citizens. We are talking about 31 specific cases, mostly in women under 55 years of age.

For older citizens in Germany, the AstraZeneca vaccinations are still given after a general health assessment. But in parallel, the authorities are deciding which drug can replace the British drug for vaccinated, which has not yet been given a second dose.

That is, it has come to the point that the Germans do not want to inject even the second dose of the Oxford vaccine.

According to the latest data, about three million people in Germany have been vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine. At the same time, a total of 15 million were vaccinated in the country. That is, the British vaccine was chosen by only 20% of all vaccinated. And many of them, as the German media write, after the appearance of information about thrombosis, refused the second dose.

United Kingdom. Seven residents have died after being vaccinated with AstraZeneca. This was reported by the Agency for the Control of Medicines on April 3. As before, the cause of all deaths is the formation of blood clots in patients.

Despite this, the introduction of the drug in Britain was not banned (we recall that it was originally developed by order of the local government). The country's medical regulator insists that the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine outweigh the side effects.

The Netherlands. The country's authorities have completely stopped the use of the drug for all categories of the population. This became known on April 3.

The Dutch doctors took such a step, having received new data on the formation of blood clots in some patients after vaccination. One of the latest precedents has become fatal - a resident of the Netherlands died of thrombosis.

USA. US authorities have banned the production of the AstraZeneca vaccine at a plant in Baltimore. But supposedly not because of blood clots.

There, during the manufacture of injections, they mixed this drug and another - Johnson & Johnson. As a result, 15 million doses were spoiled.

To prevent such mistakes from happening in the future, they decided to abandon the manufacture of AstraZeneca at this enterprise altogether.

Slovenia has completely stopped using AstraZeneca for citizens under the age of 60. The authorities, as in Germany, came to such a decision after the data on thrombosis in young citizens.

Now the Slovenian Ministry of Health is awaiting research results that may indicate a link between the use of this drug and the formation of blood clots in vaccinated people.

Crisis of confidence in the AstraZeneca vaccine

The temporary suspension of the use of AstraZeneca in Europe and the world is smoothly moving to a complete cessation of the drug administration. Recall that it is according to the formula of this company that the Covishield vaccine is produced in India, which is now injected into Ukrainians.

On March 31, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) suggested for the first time that a causal link between coronavirus vaccination with AstraZeneca and cases of thrombosis has not been proven, but is possible. The agency noted that the review of the data did not identify specific risk factors for thrombosis, such as age, gender, or previous disorders.

At the same time, an article was published in the authoritative Science, the leitmotif of which was a statement of the crisis of confidence in the British drug. Moreover, the manufacturer was convicted of rigging performance data.

"This vaccine has taken a fresh hit. The company announced the long-awaited results of large-scale trials in the Americas that seemed to end doubts about the drug's effectiveness. However, the Independent Data and Safety Monitoring Committee, which oversaw the study, flatly rejected the company's findings, saying that AstraZeneca has provided "outdated information" on the effectiveness of the vaccine," Science writes.

The article suggests that AstraZeneca used only the most favorable data, and the Independent Monitoring Committee wants to get it corrected. This was stated by the director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

According to a press release from AstraZeneca, the third phase of the trial, which involved 32,000 people from the United States, Chile and Peru, showed that the vaccine was 79% effective in preventing symptomatic coronavirus.

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"Previously, the results were very mixed, so the new data has pleased health experts. There is hope that soon this vaccine can be used in the US, although the company has not yet filed an application there for its use in an emergency. However, the Independent Monitoring Committee says that AstraZeneca could provide "incomplete data on the effectiveness of the vaccine," writes Science.

The British company said the press release is based on data collected prior to February 17, when the cut-off point was reached. But the monitoring committee expressed concern that later data were excluded. AstraZeneca was said to update the results within 48 hours. But a letter from the committee to management says that when more recent data were included in the estimate, the efficiency scores dropped to 69-74%.

Meanwhile, writes Science, European scientists have come close to solving the rare hematological disorders noted with the use of a number of vaccines. Germany, Italy, Austria, Norway and Denmark reported cases of blood clots, low platelet counts and internal bleeding.

The combination of thrombosis and low platelet counts in patients suggests "the possibility of an immune response," said hematologist at the Medical University of Vienna Sabine Eichinger, who treated an intensive care nurse who died 11 days after vaccination. Symptoms appear from the fourth to the sixteenth day after vaccination, which suggests that reincarnated antibodies play a role here. This is what hematologist Andreas Greinecher from the University of Greifswald says.

Greinecher, Eichinger and others have found that at least six patients have antibodies in blood samples that respond to platelet factor 4. This is an important molecule involved in blood clotting and inflammation. This finding led the researchers to conclude that this process resembles an autoimmune disorder called heparin-induced thrombocytopenia. This is a rare side effect of the anticoagulant heparin, which leads to a sharp drop in platelets and the formation of blood clots.

"It looks like there is something in the AstraZeneca vaccine that triggers a similar syndrome," the scientists say. They called this side effect vaccine-induced prothrombotic immune thrombocytopenia. A research team from Norway came to the same conclusions," Science reports.

At the end of the publication, American journalists write: "According to experts, it is not yet clear how these failures may affect the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine worldwide, although this vaccine is at the heart of WHO's plan to help low-income countries fight the pandemic."

Ukraine and the second dose

In Ukraine, the authorities are not going to stop vaccination with AstraZeneca. Moreover, they are looking for where to buy a new batch of the drug.

India has banned the export of vaccines, including Covishield. Therefore, those Ukrainians who have already received the first dose do not understand how to inject the second.

The Ministry of Health announced that the problem will be solved by importing AstraZeneca from South Korea. These vaccines are said to be interchangeable.

True, there is a problem. The delivery will take place at the expense of humanitarian supplies through the Covax mechanism. Ukrainian officials said that this initiative will bring us vaccines back in February. However, so far not a single ampoule from Covax has been sent to Ukraine, preferring to supply countries in Africa and the Middle East.

Therefore, there is still no belief that AstraZeneca will be sent to us in April in the doses indicated by the Ministry of Health.

Related: South Korea stops vaccination with AstraZeneca

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