Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease official, said the country will likely not need the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine because it already has an adequate supply of other shots, in what could be the latest setback for the British-Swedish pharmaceutical company, which has seen its prototype vaccine embroiled in a testing and safety controversy.
Dr. Fauci was quick to point out that this was not a “negative indictment” of the AstraZeneca shot, which he believes is a good vaccine in terms of efficacy if its safety issues are resolved.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has only authorized the use of vaccines developed by Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson, so AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine has not yet been rolled out in the United States. AstraZeneca’s attempts to gain approval in the United States have stalled several times due to company missteps, including the release of erroneous global trial results last year. AstraZeneca finally released the results of its large-scale Phase-III U.S. trial last month claiming 79% effectiveness.
However, the company found itself in the middle of another controversy just a day later, when the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) issued a statement expressing “concern” about the use of outdated data in the trial’s final results. AstraZeneca then revised its figures, revealing that its vaccine was slightly less effective, with a 76 percent efficacy rate.
The vaccine’s international rollout has been halted in part due to reports of rare blood clots developing in a small number of patients, which have resulted in a few deaths. Several countries have prohibited people under the age of 50 from receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine, even though they appear to be the most vulnerable to blood clots.
30 million dollars That was the total number of shots AstraZeneca planned to have available in the United States by the beginning of April. It’s unclear whether the company was able to meet that goal. Last month, the United States agreed to send 4 million doses of the vaccine to its neighbors Mexico and Canada, both of which have approved its use.