What is the Status of the Astrazeneca Vaccine?
In December 2020 the AstraZeneca vaccine was authorized for use in the UK; by March 2021, it was being administered in more than 70 countries across the world. Yet the roll-out of the AstraZeneca vaccine has also experienced several major setbacks.
In March 2021 the scientific board supervising one of their U.S. clinical trials wrote a letter criticizing the company for releasing “outdated and potentially misleading” data in a press release. The vaccine’s distribution in Europe was also briefly put on hold that month after reports of an estimated 30 vaccine recipients – out of 5 million people across Europe – who experienced rare blood-clots. The World Health Organization, UK health authorities and the European Medicines Agency have since all expressed their support for the vaccine, saying its benefits outweigh any risks.
In the United States, the vaccine has not yet been approved for emergency use authorization, after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) asked the company to first provide results from a large-scale trial.
AstraZeneca says that it can deliver the U.S. government 300 million doses, which is likely far more than needed for a country that has already committed to receiving 200 million doses of the Moderna vaccine, 200 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine, and roughly 100 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
As of April 2021, more than a dozen European countries are continuing to administer the Astra-Zeneca vaccine, including France, Germany, Italy and Spain. However, public concerns about the blood-clot incidents have led several countries to limit the use of the vaccine, with both Germany and the Netherlands no longer giving it to anyone under the age of 60.
Jackie Phillips, MD, April 5, 2021