COVID-19 Weekly Roundup: Latest developments around the world

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  • The EU Commission has opted not to renew contracts for the COVID-19 vaccine from Oxford-AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson.
  • Researchers at the University of Oxford introduced a Com-Cov study to evaluate the benefits of mixing and matching COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Several countries are temporarily halting the launch of the J&J COVID-19 vaccine after reports of rare blood clots.

With vaccination programs worldwide moving forward at a relatively slow pace, several complications are arising concerning vaccine safety. After blood clots were a cause of concern with AstraZeneca Plc’s (LON:AZN) jab, the vaccination with Johnson & Johnson’s (NYSE:JNJ) COVID-19 vaccine has been temporarily paused in some nations for the same reason. Countries are now moving to COVID-19 vaccines developed by other companies. Researchers in the UK are also trying hands on mixing and matching of COVID-19 vaccines.

Let us delve dive and discuss in detail-

EU Commission not to renew AstraZeneca, J&J vaccine contracts

Several media reports mention that the European Union Commission has opted against renewing contracts next year for Oxford-AstraZeneca’s and Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine.

Instead, EU Commission will focus on COVID-19 vaccines developed using messenger RNA (mRNA) technology, including vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc (NYSE:PFE) and Moderna Inc (NYSE:MRNA).

The COVID-19 vaccines developed by AstraZeneca and J&J have come under the medical regulators’ scrutiny after blood clot instances were reported recently. Even though the blood clot reactions are extremely rare, these have led to fatalities, prompting many nations to halt these vaccines.

ALSO READ: Australia restricts AstraZeneca’s vaccine rollout, to get third COVID-19 vaccine shortly

EU to get 1.8 billion doses of Pfizer vaccine through 2023

EU Commission disclosed that it would extend a major contract for COVID-19 vaccines with Pfizer Inc to 2023. The Commission remains confident as Pfizer’s vaccine has been a mainstay of the vaccination drive so far.

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According to media reports, the EU will commence negotiations to purchase almost 1.8 billion doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech SE (NASDAQ:BNTX) vaccine through 2023.

Pfizer-BioNTech intends to offer extra 50 million doses to the EU in the second quarter of this year. The vaccine deliveries will be particularly welcomed by the 27 member nations of the EU considering supply delays as well as concerns over rare blood clots possibly linked to the Oxford-AstraZeneca’s jab

DO READ: AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine: A look at recent challenges

The UK expands Com-Cov study, adds two more vaccines

As the world is racing to immunise people against the coronavirus, some researchers in the UK are exploring a new approach.

Source: Copyright © 2020 Kalkine Media Pty Ltd

The scientists at the University of Oxford have launched a Com-Cov study to assess the benefits of mixing and matching different COVID-19 vaccines. Now, the specialists are selecting Moderna and Novavax vaccines for this study.

Since February 2021, experts have been investigating the immune response on subjects if they were immunised with the first dose of AstraZeneca’s vaccine and the second shot of Pfizer’s vaccine, and vice versa.

J&J COVID-19 vaccine launch temporarily terminated

The EU, South Africa and the US will temporarily stop using J&J’s vaccine after reports of rare blood clots. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stated that six cases were detected in over 6.8 million vaccine administration.  Furthermore, J&J has stopped its vaccine rollout in the EU, which started this week.

Following the recommendation, all federal sites in the US have terminated using Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine until the completion of further safety examinations of the vaccine.

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