July 18, 2022

Scientists Back AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine as ‘Equally Effective’ Like Other Vaccines

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Rwanda has recieved tens of thousands of AstraZeneca doses as it tops vaccinations on the African continent

A newly published expert review of real-world data demonstrates that AstraZeneca’s vaccine and mRNA COVID-19 vaccines provide equally effective protection against hospitalisation and death following two doses.

The review, published by Expert Review of Vaccines, a monthly peer-reviewed medical journal, looks at the effectiveness of the world’s most-used COVID-19 vaccines from 79 real-world studies.

The data shows that both the AstraZeneca vaccine, a viral vector vaccine, and ‘mRNA’ COVID-19 vaccines, offer equivalent protection against hospitalisation (91.3%-92.5%) and death (91.4%-93.3%) regardless of age, with no statistical difference between them.

While data available at the time of review relates to Delta and earlier variants, available statistics indicate similar findings on serious COVID-19 outcomes resulting from Omicron.

AstraZeneca’s vaccine, developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, is a ‘viral vector’ vaccine, which means a version of a virus that cannot cause disease is used as part of the vaccine, so if the body is exposed to the real virus later it is able to fight it.  This vaccine technology has been used by scientists over the past 40 years to fight other infectious diseases such as the flu, Zika, Ebola and HIV.

AstraZeneca and its global partners have released over 3 billion vaccine doses to more than 180 countries, and approximately two-thirds of these doses have been delivered to low- and lower-middle income countries. Based on model outcomes assessing COVID-19, the AstraZeneca vaccine is estimated to have helped save over 6 million lives between 08 December 2020 and 08 December 2021.

Professor Guy Thwaites, Director of the Oxford Clinical Research Unit in Vietnam and one of the study’s authors, said: “COVID-19 vaccines have been critical to help save lives and return the world to some normalcy over the past year. Our expert review shows that the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine and available mRNA vaccines provide similar, high-level protection against life-threatening COVID-19. This is important information for policy makers as they consider the optimal deployment of COVID-19 vaccines in their populations over the next 12 months.”

John L. Perez, Senior Vice President, Head of Late Development Vaccines & Immune Therapies Unit, AstraZeneca said: “Real-world data offer crucial insights into the effectiveness of vaccines, including the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. We are pleased that these data continue to show high-levels of protection against severe clinical outcomes and further our understanding of the important role that vaccination plays in the containment of COVID-19.”

Over 8.7million Rwandans from 13m population have completed all doses of vaccinations, with AstraZeneca being among six vaccines being administered.

According to COVAX, Rwanda has administered a total of over 23m doses as of July 18.

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