In the last month, news has appeared on vaccines from British-Swedish concern AstraZeneca, which ultimately greatly shaken the position of this drug in the anti-coronavirus vaccine market.
It started with Denmark's decision to suspend the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine after some patients developed blood clots shortly after injection.
Soon, other countries, including Austria, Lithuania, Latvia, Norway, Bulgaria, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Indonesia, Slovenia, and others, began to massively refuse vaccinations with the preparation of the British-Swedish concern.
In Ukraine, where citizens are inoculated with the Indian version of this vaccine, known as Covishield, the immunization process was decided not to be suspended. As the head of the Servant of the People party, Oleksandr Kornienko, explained at a briefing on March 15, there are not enough vaccinations in the country to draw any conclusions.
President Volodymyr Zelensky called the situation around the immunization process with AstraZeneca an information attack against this vaccine.
Following the conclusions of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Medicines Control Agency (EMA), which agreed that the benefits of AstraZeneca far outweigh the potential risks, a number of countries have resumed the vaccination process.
True, the same Germany, which is in this number, has limited the use of the vaccine for people under the age of 60, DW reports. This decision was made after the discovery of new cases of thrombosis among vaccinated citizens in the age group under 60 years old.
In Canada, people under the age of 55 are currently not vaccinated with AstraZeneca, the Associated Press reports. According to the deputy head of the National Advisory Committee on Immunization Shelley Dix, most Europeans who developed blood clots after being vaccinated with AstraZeneca were women under the age of 55.
Overall, the "thrombotic scandal" had a strong impact on the credibility of the vaccine. Based on the results of a survey by the British YouGov Institute, in Germany, France, Spain, Italy, most residents consider the drug from AstraZeneca unsafe. At the same time, two-thirds of the UK population think differently.
Decrease in performance indicator
Another event played not in favor of this vaccine. The press service of AstraZeneca on March 22 published the preliminary results of the third phase of clinical trials on its website.
They stated that the effectiveness of the drug is 79%, and also that it completely prevents a severe form of the disease.
The company noted that all volunteers tolerated the injection well, and an independent panel did not identify any safety issues with the vaccine. In particular, no increased risk for thrombosis was seen among the 21,583 participants who received at least one dose of the vaccine.
However, the US Independent Data Monitoring and Safety Board questioned the information, saying AstraZeneca may have provided incomplete and outdated test data. The company responded and promised to provide "the most recent drug efficacy data" within 48 hours.
Within the specified timeframe, AstraZeneca published an update on its website, in which the effectiveness of the drug was reduced to 76%. The indicator of effectiveness against severe or critical illnesses and hospitalizations remained at the same level, that is, 100%. For people over 65, this figure is 85%.
Against the background of all these events, another thing happened, the reasons for which are still not entirely clear – the vaccine was renamed Vaxzevria.
The website of the Swedish Medicines Agency reports that the name change does not imply any changes in the composition of the drug. However, "product information, labeling and packaging may now look different."
Whether this is due to the latest developments around the AstraZeneca vaccine is unclear, as the official reasons for the renaming are unknown. It is only specified that the name was changed on March 25 at the request of the company itself.