Despite the vague, and unwarranted, skepticism about the AstraZeneca vaccine, here comes great news for the serum produced by the Anglo-Swedish company in collaboration with the University of Oxford.
AstraZeneca vaccine over 55 or over 65? Let’s be clear
The Technical-Scientific Commission ofItalian drug agency has given the ok to administer AstraZeneca’s anti-Covid vaccine to subjects up to 65 years old of age in good health. Older or frail people will instead be given Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which are different because of mRNA.
The circular from the Ministry of Health that incorporates the new indications should be released on Friday 19. The AIFA actually further specifies the safety of the vaccine. After having, a few weeks ago, expressed a favorable opinion regarding the use of AstraZeneca also for the over 55s, with the new green light it sets the maximum age at 65 years.
“Based on the immunogenicity results and safety data, the benefit / risk ratio of this vaccine is favorable even in older subjects who do not have specific risk factors” he highlighted. For further scruple, and in the absence of other data, Aifa has decided to raise the age but to stop it at 65.
Meanwhile, on February 15, the pharmaceutical giant has earned WHO OK for emergency use in individuals aged 18 and over, including those over 65. Administration takes place in two doses over a period of 4 to 12 weeks. The WHO Panel recommended a dosing interval of 8 to 12 weeks.
This regimen has been shown to be safe and effective in clinical trials in preventing symptomatic Covid, with no severe cases and no hospitalizations beyond 14 days after the second dose. WHO has also recommended the use of the vaccine in countries where new variants are prevalent, including the South African variant B1.351, despite the South African government’s stop using the serum.
AstraZeneca is the first industry to join COVAX: what it is and how it works
AstraZeneca is committed to making its vaccine available to as many countries as possible and without profit during the period of the pandemic. In June 2020, the company announced a sub-license agreement with the Serum Institute of India (SII) to produce and supply up to one billion doses of the vaccine to low- and middle-income countries. The company was the first global pharmaceutical company to join the WHO program COVAX in June 2020.
Now, AstraZeneca and SII explain that they will work with the COVAX tool to begin providing the vaccine around the world – most doses will go as quickly as possible to low- and middle-income countries. This global mechanism is working precisely to accelerate the development, production and equal access to new Covid tools around the world for all participating countries, regardless of income level.
In the first half of 2021, it is hoped that more than 300 million doses of the vaccine will be made available to 145 countries through COVAX. Doses will be equally assigned according to the COVAX Allocation Framework.
All about the AstraZeneca vaccine: efficacy, side effects and storage
A particularly strategic vaccine that of AstraZeneca, despite even some doctors and nurses, in various parts of the world, we have rejected it because it is considered less safe. In fact, his effectiveness reaches 82.4% and even 100% against the most serious and dangerous forms of Coronavirus (in participants who had the second dose 12 weeks after the first, the efficacy 14 days after the second dose was 82.4%).
As the experts explain, fever, fatigue and muscle aches are normal and expected reactions in case of vaccination. In the case of very mild flu-like symptoms that usually last a day or two and may even require rest at home, but they disappear fairly quickly without leaving any consequences, so there is nothing to worry about.
Furthermore, it costs very little and has the considerable advantage of being able to be stored for 6 months at temperatures between 2 ° and 8 ° C, if the package remains intact. After opening the vial it can be stored in the refrigerator (2 ° C – 8 ° C) for no more than 48 hours and at room temperature (below 30 ° C) for up to 6 hours.
It should also be clearly specified that this viral vector vaccine, which induces good protection against Covid-19 despite lower efficacy rates than Pfizer and Moderna, it cannot possibly cause SARS-CoV-2 infection or Covid-10 disease because it does not contain active viruses, but only a genetic component that brings information into the body of those who are vaccinated to produce specific antibodies.
Tests on children and a new vaccine against Covid variants
AstraZeneca is also about to leave with i first tests on children. The serum will be administered to 300 minors, between the ages of 6 and 17, to verify its safety and efficacy even in this age group. The new trial will start in Great Britain by the end of February.
In the meantime, the company expects to produce over 100 million doses by the end of February and to produce over 200 million per month in April. The group closes the 2020 accounts with a net profit more than doubled to 3.2 billion dollars and sales up 9% to 26.6 billion and 7.41 billion in the last quarter alone.
And it has already announced that it has started searches for a vaccine update, to make it more calibrated and effective against new variants of the Coronavirus that are worrying scientists and that risk plunging us back into a new hard lockdown.
The no of Switzerland
At the moment, to say no to AstraZeneca is Switzerland, which has decided not to approve the vaccine, stating that there is not enough data to do so. With obvious repercussions on the vaccination plan of the Swiss country.
Swiss regulator Swissmedic said the data submitted by AstraZeneca was insufficient to authorize the use of the Anglo-Swedish company’s Covid vaccine, saying “new studies” were needed.
However, the decision is not final: The Swiss government said more data on the safety, efficacy and quality of the vaccine is needed to make a more accurate approval assessment. In order to obtain a final evaluation, the company will also need to submit additional efficacy data from an ongoing Phase III study in North and South America, and these will need to be analyzed.
In January, Swiss media reported that the vaccine was only a few weeks away from approval. But then the stop came. As soon as the results are received, temporary authorization may be issued.