But the rollout ran into problems including questions about misleading data and missed deliveries that cloud public perceptions of AstraZeneca as other vaccines advance.
This week, Europe’s largest pharmaceutical agency reinforced fears of rare but dangerous blood clots among those who received the vaccine. The European Medicines Agency said on Wednesday that it was “reasonable” that blood clots were related to the vaccine, but it also “stressed that the benefits of vaccination still outweigh the risks.” Inform my colleagues.
However, The latest news from Europe will travel beyond the continent’s borders – and AstraZeneca’s problems are likely to have a major global impact.
Unlike many of its peers, the vaccine is relatively cheap and easy to administer. Most importantly, they make up a large portion of the planned supply for Covax, a global vaccine initiative linked to the World Health Organization that aims to ensure supply to low- and middle-income countries.
Search Posted last month By the Think Global Health program of the Council on Foreign Relations, AstraZeneca found that AstraZeneca was expected to account for nearly 50 percent of global vaccine supplies in low-middle-income countries and a third of vaccine supplies in low-income countries.
The scramble to receive AstraZeneca doses contrasts with concurrent concerns about its safety. A number of European countries have already made changes to their vaccination programs before the EMA announcement, as Denmark and Norway temporarily stopped using the vaccine altogether.
Italy announced on Wednesday that it will recommend the AstraZeneca vaccine Only for those over 60, Following similar moves recently in France and Germany.
Even if blood clots are rare, they appear more severe for young men, with most cases reported in women under the age of 60, the agency said.
But with some countries abstaining from using the vaccine, others are struggling to obtain their doses. So far, there is no indication that AstraZeneca’s troubles will curb demand in many parts of the world. However, export controls, such as those imposed by the Indian government last month after a surge in domestic cases, are problematic.
Amid a catastrophic escalation in cases last month, the Indian government imposed restrictions on the export of vaccines. The move hit the Pune-based Serum, the world’s largest factory by volume, which was producing the vaccine developed by Oxford. Under an agreement with AstraZeneca.
India that was generous with it Donations of vaccines to poorer neighbors, I retracted the media’s description of the export ban. F. K. Paul, a top health official in India, told The Washington Post last week: “We shouldn’t call it a cutback,” admitting that there will be “some slowing down,” but hinting that it will be resolved within weeks.
UNICEF spokeswoman Najwa Makki said last week that Kovacs has so far received only 28 million doses of AstraZeneca from the serum institute from the 90 million it expected in March and April, but that she expects natural exports to resume in May.
But Adar Poonawalla, CEO of the Serum Institute, expressed a more pessimistic view on Tuesday, saying Associated Press Exports may not fully resume until June if the increase in India does not subside. We will have to continue to supply to India, not anywhere else. “Because we must protect our nation,” Bunawala said.
Some countries already say their vaccination goals may be affected. John Nkengasung, Director of the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, That said last week that the delay AstraZeneca’s dosing delivery could be “catastrophic” to meet the continent’s vaccine schedule. Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam They also said that they are expecting a slowdown.
India is not the only country with limited exports. Australia had a contract to deliver 3.8 million doses in January and February, but those hopes were dashed in March after the European Commission introduced it Export restrictions And Italy Block the shipment 250,000 doses intended for Australia.
Vanity Fair I mentioned this week That US contracts with major pharmaceutical manufacturers, including AstraZeneca, included specific language prohibiting overdoses from being shared with the rest of the world. “It’s a complete and total ban,” an unnamed administration official said about the contracts.
However, Tom Pollike of the Council on Foreign Relations argued that the United States could negotiate more ways to share vaccines.
Andrea Taylor, the Duke University researcher who tracks vaccine supplies, said one reason export controls in India had an effect is that they were unpredictable. On the other hand, the United States made it clear early in the pandemic that it would prioritize domestic vaccine supply.
“The United States could have played an important role in getting the vaccine to the world,” Taylor wrote in an email, “but it hasn’t planned for that, at least not in 2021.” “This is because their position in the beginning was very national, not global.”
With its vaccination program continuing without approval of the AstraZeneca vaccine, the United States has become largely isolated from its problems. Anthony S. Fauci, the country’s chief infectious disease physician, He said last week It is “still in the air” whether the United States will need AstraZeneca doses at all.
But this is not the case for a large part of the world. And as the demand for vaccination continues to grow, concern about the twin issues of safety and supply will remain high with it.
Niha Masih from Delhi contributed to this report.