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Australia’s CMO backs Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine amid efficacy concerns

  • January 13, 2021 04:12 PM AEDT
  • Team Kalkine
Australia’s CMO backs Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine amid efficacy concerns

Summary

  • There have been requests to the Australian government to reconsider the proposed launch of Oxford-AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine amid efficacy concerns.
  • The top health executive of Australia rejected pleas to stop the rollout of the vaccine.
  • Despite concerns, ASX 200 biotech company CSL remains focused to manufacture AstraZeneca vaccine in Australia.
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Amid the growing concerns about Oxford-AstraZeneca Plc’s (LON:AZN) COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness to achieve herd immunity, the Australian government has been urged to reconsider the proposed launch of the vaccine. However, the government said it would wait for its advisory panel of medical specialists’ suggestion for the rollout.

The government has relied heavily on Oxford-AstraZeneca’s vaccine with a deal to purchase 53 million doses. ASX-listed biotech giant CSL Limited (ASX:CSL) is preparing to manufacture COVID-19 vaccine in the country.

There are ongoing debates over the efficacy rate of Oxford-AXN’s COVID-19 vaccine. Some physicians and immunologists are concerned whether the vaccine will be effective enough to achieve herd immunity. Herd immunity is used when a larger population is immune against any virus, and it can no longer spread further.

Experts warn Oxford-AstraZeneca’s vaccine not efficient enough for herd immunity

Based on the current evidence, the Australia and New Zealand Society for Immunology reveals that the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is not reliable enough to control the coronavirus across Australia.

According to the details from Phase 3 clinical trials published late November 2020, the vaccine trialled at two different dose regimens showed different results with each dose. The clinical trials demonstrated that the vaccine was ~62% effective in the prevention of COVID-19.

Source: Shutterstock

 Besides, herd immunity is essential to stop the virus from circulating. Herd immunity enables individuals to come back to normal life by reducing virus transmission. Many experts believe that to achieve herd immunity, the vaccine’s targeted efficacy should be at least in the range 70-80%.

Pfizer Inc(NYSE:PFE)-BioNTech SE’s (Nasdaq:BNTX) vaccine is being launched in the US and UK. It is considered to be over 90% effective, and thus, is more likely to attain a herd immunity result.

It is noteworthy to mention that Australia is on track to distribute Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine in February 2021.

CMO of Australia, Mr Paul Kelly said that at this stage of the process, concerns about the efficacy of the vaccine to develop herd immunity were not justified. He added that Australians should be guided by medical research findings from the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).

ALSO READ: COVID-19 Vaccination in Australia to be completed by 2021 end

Probable Launch of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine in Australia

As highlighted above, there are requests for the government to reconsider its take on the Oxford-AZN vaccine as the interim results did not convince some experts.

    ©Kalkine Group 2021

According to the experts, instead of relying on the Oxford-AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, the Australian government should consider vaccines launched by Moderna Inc (NYSE:MRNA) and Pfizer that have proved almost 95% effectiveness against coronavirus.

However, the top health officer of the country rejected requests to stop the launch of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. He added that the vaccine is 100% effective in preventing death from COVID-19 despite misgivings.

Besides, Australian biotech behemoth CSL remains focused on manufacturing AZN’s vaccine regardless of the concerns.

MUST READ: WHO warns coronavirus can become endemic; a wake-up call for 2021?

 

 


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