AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine more effective with longer dose gap

Elias Hubbard
February 21, 2021

Switzerland, which has ordered 5.3 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, is waiting for results from trials in North and South America, after saying earlier testing did not produce clear data including on efficacy in older people. A spokesperson for AstraZeneca told the paper that the company is ready to swiftly deliver doses to Switzerland as soon as Swissmedic approves the vaccine.

Special Assistant to Prime Minister on National Health Services (SAPM), Dr Faisal Sultan on Thursday said that there was no bar imposed on the private sector to import corona vaccine from overseas to protect people' lives from COVID-19 pandemic.

German medical authorities have only authorised the vaccine for under-65s following criticism of AstraZeneca's trial data for older people, meaning the vaccine is now being offered to healthcare workers and younger people with pre-existing conditions.

The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, codenamed AZD1222, is the second COVID-19 vaccine to receive the World Health Organization authorisation, after the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

Simon Stevens, chief executive of the National Health Service in England, on Monday said this hesitancy was a "real concern" and that a huge effort was being made to overcome it.

Last week Pakistan allowed the commercial import and sale of vaccines without price caps, in contrast to most countries, which are importing and administering vaccines through government channels.

AstraZeneca has been shown to be about 60% effective in trials, while studies point to about 95% efficacy for the BioNTech and Moderna vaccines.

The private sector has an integral role in terms of ensuring safe and secure COVID-19 vaccinations in addition to the pubic sector, the drug regulator said in a notice announcing the guidelines.

The PEI said it had been notified of reports from some clinics of increased sickness among personnel given the AstraZeneca vaccine, with reactions including fever, chills, headache, muscle and limb pain, and a general feeling of illness. Mojisola Adeyeye, said on Thursday.

While German medical authorities advise against mixing different vaccines between the first and the second shot, Spahn suggested people could theoretically receive a booster shot with a product from a different manufacturer at a later date.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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