AstraZeneca's COVID-19 dilemma
The European Union’s COVID-19 vaccination drive, already lagging and beset with organisational problems, was thrown into fresh chaos this week (17 March 2021) when for “precautionary reasons” the use of the AstraZeneca vaccination was suspended following 37 incidents of bloot clots in recipients, out of 17m doses administered, reported Medical Brief (17 March 2021).
“South Africa decided not to use the AstraZeneca product shortly after procuring it at considerably above its EU-procured price over concerns that it would not be efficacious against the latest variants. Prof Shabir Madhi, Medical Research Council vaccinologist and principle investigator in the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine trial locally urged the Health Department not to abandon the vaccine but to make immediate strategic use of it among high-risk groups before it expired, following data from Public Health England that in people over 70, it cut the risk of developing any COVID-19 symptoms by around 60%, three weeks after an initial dose of the two-dose vaccine. In people over 70, it cut the risk of developing any COVID-19 symptoms by around 60%, three weeks after an initial dose of the two-dose vaccine.
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