While 2020 was a year full of fear of the unknown, empty streets and full houses, 2021 has begun as a year of great expectations and hope vaccines will eventually stop COVID-19 from circulating and killing people all over the world. Since the vaccination campaign is in its most massive phase, the media is overflooded with smiling people, getting their vaccines and promoting ‘I’ve got my vaccine’. As this is a huge step we’ve been waiting for a long time, the overjoy reaction seems to be normal.
However, for a couple of weeks things aren’t looking too confident, as they were before. Countries have urged cases of blood clots found in a number of recipients, after getting the above-mentioned vaccine. That created a temporary suspension as a precaution until the risks are evaluated in more than 16 countries. But while resuming the vaccination was a natural thing to do for some of them, like Germany, Italy and Spain, France is limiting AstraZeneca vaccine use to the over-55s, and Norway, Denmark and Sweden stand apart.
As Europe is not to be united in this case, especially when death cases come in place, results from the U.S. last stage human trial study became one of the top stories on the web. Based on 32,449 participants across 88 trial centers in the U.S, Peru and Chile it shows that AstraZeneca vaccine is 79 % effective in preventing symptomatic illness and 100% effective against severe disease and hospitalization. If successful, primary analysis is to be submitted from the Food and Drug agency (FDA), AstraZeneca vaccine will be approved for emergency use in April.
However, that doesn’t seem to be the end, because accusations on AstraZeneca of using outdated information, were stated on the 23 March, by National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). In a press release the same day, the british-swedish pharmaceutical company declared the report is since 17th February, and in the future will announce all data up to 48 hours.
Experts from European Medicine Agency (EMA) and World Health Organization (WHO) also support the idea that AstraZeneca vaccines’ benefits outweigh the risk, research any possible link to blood clots, and recommend it’s perfectly safe and the vaccination should continue.
At the same time, scientists at Greifswald teaching hospital in a partnership with Paul Ehrlich Institute (PEI), and doctors from Austria claim to discover the trombosis trigger, which causes blood clots in some AstraZeneca vaccine recipients. The good news is targeted treatment can be offered to those, who suffer similar clotting, using a common medication, but it can’t be applied as a preventive measure.
Although this is a huge relief, the AstraZeneca situation still remains unsolved, as many EU countries didn’t get the exact amount of vaccine doses they ordered, and received only 30 % of the 90 million doses they were promised. In time when struggling to speed up vaccine inoculation, this certainly forced the EU leaders to urge setting a ban for export vaccines to the UK, until AstraZeneca fulfilled its agreement. Well, in that case, ‘vaccine war’ proclaimed by Boris Johnson really seems inevitable, but we, as normal citizens can only wait for what comes next.
In moments like this, when we express anxiety over the third wave of coronavirus, there’s plenty of issues to worry about and no one can stop the questions in our minds, coming one after another. Since we certainly sacrificed a lot through the past year, we can’t bear a burden bigger than it already is. But in such moments we come to understand what really matters in life, and what’s to treasure the most – HEALTH, ours and our loved ones.
Now when somebody suggests the COVID-19 vaccine during COVID-19 pandemic isn’t safe enough, it delivers a soul earthquake that we’re not used to. As the additional research is ongoing, and all results are presented in a timely manner, truth is out there. Vaccination is a voluntary act, and it’s up to us, whether to choose the Astrazeneca vaccine or not.
MVS Pharma GmbH is an innovative pharmaceutical start-up company, which researches in the area of reducing viruses and bacteria with plant based aerosols. Their special formula ensures the purity and the stability of the used ingredients during storage.
Liliya Ganeva is an article writer, who explores all the actual, up-to-date COVID-19 information, and the possibilities for producing aerosols made out of plants against respiratory viruses and bacteria.