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Canada National panel advises against using Oxford-AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine on seniors

05:00  02 march  2021
05:00  02 march  2021 Source:   msn.com

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The Oxford – AstraZeneca COVID - 19 vaccine , codenamed AZD1222, is a COVID - 19 vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca given by intramuscular injection

The AstraZeneca - Oxford vaccine is a chimpanzee adenovirus-vectored vaccine . This means that the company took a virus that normally infects chimpanzees, and genetically modified to avoid any possible disease consequences in people. This modified virus carries a portion of the Covid - 19 coronavirus Other companies are also working on adenovirus vaccines against Covid - 19 , including Johnson & Johnson, whose vaccine is currently in clinical trials with preliminary results expected in early 2021. China-based CanSino Biologists is also developing an adenovirus virus, as is NantKwest, the biotech

OTTAWA — A national panel of vaccine experts says provinces should not use the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine on seniors, opening the door for provinces to start vaccinating younger populations with the newly authorized vaccine much earlier than expected.

a close up of a bottle © Provided by The Canadian Press

But similar advice initially issued in Europe began to be revisited Monday, with France overturning its earlier decision against using it on seniors, and Germany in the midst of reconsidering it.

The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine was authorized for use Friday on all adults, including seniors, but the National Advisory Committee on Immunization is concerned there is limited data on how well the vaccine will work in older populations.

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AstraZeneca ' s vaccine is so far "the only one that can definitely be delivered to those systems," added Ghani. The vaccines are based on different technology. AstraZeneca ' s offering -- like Johnson & Johnson's vaccine and Russia's Sputnik V -- uses an adenovirus to carry genetic fragments of coronavirus into "Access to safe and efficacious COVID - 19 vaccines for the most vulnerable groups everywhere in the world is the only way to bring the acute stage of this pandemic under control," said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, as he welcomed the news on the Oxford vaccine in a statement this week.

The AstraZeneca vaccine is different. It uses a weakened version of a chimpanzee adenovirus as a delivery vehicle to ferry coronavirus genes into human cells. That trains the immune system to fight future attacks from the actual coronavirus. A vaccine deploying the technology behind AstraZeneca ’ s candidate has never won approval. But the approach has been studied before, notably in a small 2018 study of an experimental vaccine against the virus that causes Middle East respiratory syndrome, or MERS.

There are no concerns that the vaccine is unsafe for use, but the NACI panel said in its recommendations the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are preferred for people 65 years old and above "due to suggested superior efficacy."

NACI says Oxford-AstraZeneca should be offered to people under 65 as long as the benefits of getting a good vaccine earlier outweigh any limitations the vaccine may have in terms of effectiveness.

Individuals should be made aware of those limitations and how long they might otherwise wait for an mRNA vaccine, the advice says.

The panel's advice helps provincial governments determine how best to use the vaccines available to them, but provinces can make their own calls about what to do.

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AstraZeneca is advancing its ongoing response to address the unprecedented challenges of COVID - 19 , collaborating with a number of countries and multilateral organisations to make the University of Oxford ’ s potential vaccine widely accessible around the world in an equitable manner. The Company will supply 100m doses to the UK and is thankful for the Government’ s commitment and overall work on vaccines . Pascal Soriot, Chief Executive Officer, said: “This pandemic is a global tragedy and it is a challenge for all of humanity. We need to defeat the virus together or it will continue

The AstraZeneca / Oxford University vaccine has been a frontrunner in the race to find a coronavirus jab and has been shown to be 70.4% effective and possibly up to 90%. Researchers have already used this technology to produce vaccines against a number of pathogens including flu, Zika and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (Mers). The virus is genetically modified so that it is impossible for it to grow in humans.

It will now be up to provinces to determine if they open up vaccinations with Oxford-AstraZeneca to individuals under the age of 65.

Until now, provinces have not anticipated expanding the vaccination campaign to include people younger than that for several more months, most in what they call Phase 2 or even Phase 3, of their vaccine program.

Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro said the provincial government has decided to follow NACI's advice and not give Oxford-AstraZeneca to anyone over the age of 65.

"How that's going to change the administration of those who are in Phase 2 is still to be determined," he said. "We'll be making those decisions and announcing them fairly soon."

The NACI advice follows similar plans in many European countries. The European Medicines Agency said the vaccine could be used on all adults, but a number of countries decided not to use it for seniors because of the limited clinical data.

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AstraZeneca ' s offering -- like Johnson & Johnson's vaccine and Russia's Sputnik V -- uses an adenovirus to carry genetic fragments of coronavirus into the body. Updated advice . Previously, the team developing the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine said it had an "an average efficacy of 70%," with The vaccine 's efficacy after two doses is 62%, so it looks likely that the higher number would only be very short-lived. "At a time of increasing rates of infection, hospitalization and death from Covid - 19 , greater clarity is urgently needed over any risks associated with extending the second dose window to

AstraZeneca said its vaccine , developed in collaboration with the University of Oxford , was assessed over two different dosing regimens. One showed an effectiveness of 90% when trial participants received a half dose, followed by a full dose at least one month apart. The other dosing regimen showed 62% efficacy when given as two full doses at least one month apart. Pascal Soriot, CEO of AstraZeneca , said the development marked an "important milestone" in the fight against the global health crisis.

However, France reversed course Monday, with French Health Minister Olivier Véran saying Oxford-AstraZeneca was, along with Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, remarkably effective against COVID-19.

A study released last week by Public Health Scotland, where the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine has been in use since Dec. 30, found COVID-19-related hospital admissions among seniors fell 94 per cent after getting the vaccine.

Nearly 500,000 people in the study had received the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, most of them over the age of 80.

When vaccines are tested in clinical trials, thousands of participants get the vaccine and a similar number receive a placebo. The vaccine maker then waits until a minimum number of people are infected with COVID-19, and compares how many of those infected got the vaccine and how many did not.

Not enough seniors were among the group who did get infected with COVID-19 to be useful to draw conclusions in the Oxford-AstraZeneca trial. However, data on blood samples showed seniors given the vaccine did develop the antibodies to COVID-19 in similar levels to younger individuals.

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Pifzer-BioNTech and Moderna both had more substantial data for older participants in the clinical trials.

Both Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna reported about 95 per cent effectiveness at preventing COVID-19 overall, while Oxford-AstraZeneca reported its vaccine to be about 62 per cent effective.

Dr. Supriya Sharma, the chief medical adviser at Health Canada overseeing the regulatory review, said Health Canada's authorization is not out of step with the NACI recommendations.

Sharma said Health Canada noted the concerns about clinical data but authorized the vaccine for use because the data showed the vaccine to be both safe and effective in all adults.

"I agree with the recommendation," she said Monday in an interview with The Canadian Press.

She said the preference is for those most vulnerable to get the vaccines with the best data available, but for those who are less vulnerable, getting this vaccine now could provide a significant benefit to them and to reducing overall COVID-19 caseloads.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 1, 2021.

Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press

First shipment of AstraZeneca vaccine arrives amid confusion over its use for seniors .
OTTAWA — The first doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine are set to arrive in Canada today as confusion persists over who should get it. Canada is to receive 500,000 doses of the vaccine, the third approved for use in Canada, from the Serum Institute of India. But questions about who should receive the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine continue amid conflicting guidance about its use. Health Canada last week authorized its use for all adult Canadians but the National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommended Tuesday that it not be administered to people 65 years of age or older.

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