Questions mount over Covid-19 vaccine that Boris Johnson was so keen to promote

This Site took a (small) degree of flak after I raised questions about the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine that Boris Johnson had touted as 90 per cent effective.

It turned out that the extra effectiveness only worked when a lower dose was administered first (of the two that were provided to test subjects).

It was enough for me to flag up concern – and that was enough for some people to complain. “Why the negative spin?”

Perhaps because there’s more to it, as the New York Times has revealed:

The regimen that appeared to be 90 percent effective was based on participants receiving a half dose of the vaccine followed a month later by a full dose; the less effective version involved a pair of full doses. AstraZeneca disclosed in its initial announcement that fewer than 2,800 participants received the smaller dosing regimen, compared with nearly 8,900 participants who received two full doses.

The biggest questions were, why was there such a large variation in the effectiveness of the vaccine at different doses, and why did a smaller dose appear to produce much better results? AstraZeneca and Oxford researchers said they did not know.

Crucial information was also missing. The company said that the early analysis was based on 131 symptomatic Covid-19 cases that had turned up in study participants. But it did not break down how many cases were found in each group of participants — those who received the half-strength initial dose, the regular-strength initial dose and the placebo.

Adding to the confusion, AstraZeneca pooled the results from two differently designed clinical trials in Britain and Brazil, a break from standard practice in reporting the results of drug and vaccine trials.

The company had not intended for any participants to receive the half dose. British researchers running the trial there had meant to give the full dose initially to volunteers, but a miscalculation meant they were mistakenly given only a half dose.

To many outside experts, that undercut the credibility of the results because the closely calibrated clinical trials had not been designed to test how well a half-strength initial dose worked.

The company’s initial announcement didn’t mention the accidental nature of the discovery.

Then… Moncef Slaoui, the head of Operation Warp Speed, the U.S. initiative to fast-track coronavirus vaccines, noted another limitation in AstraZeneca’s data. On a call with reporters, he suggested that the participants who received the half-strength initial dose had been 55 years old or younger.

Mr. Pangalos confirmed that on Wednesday, saying the participants received the half-strength dose over a matter of weeks before the error was discovered.

The fact that the initial half-strength dose wasn’t tested in older participants, who are especially vulnerable to Covid-19, could undermine AstraZeneca’s case to regulators that the vaccine should be authorized for emergency use.

So the vaccine’s 90 per cent effectiveness only works on people aged 55 or younger. For older people, it was 62 per cent effective – a significant drop, and enough to jeopardise the vaccine’s bid to be fast-tracked into use.

Johnson would have had it pressed into service straight away, if he could.

And how would that have affected older people who would then be encouraged to take it, based on a false belief?

Source: AstraZeneca Faces Difficult Questions About Its Vaccine After Admitting Mistake – The New York Times

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8 thoughts on “Questions mount over Covid-19 vaccine that Boris Johnson was so keen to promote

  1. Stu

    The counter arguement has been that 62% is better than the current Seasonal Flu virus.
    But to release a largely untested vaccine on vulnerable patients is risky, especially as the “played down” side effects have a much more severe reaction in this group.

    I’m an ex-nurse who is very aware that my pain,headaches and fatigue that I normally have could leave me incapacitated if they get worse with vaccine side effects, so I remain cautious but open-minded and await further information.

  2. Jeffrey Davies

    More getting rid of useless eaters hmm but one wonders who in our wonderful MPs have their fingers in this pie

      1. Tony Dean

        The source you quote is suspicious, they don’t want a vaccine as cheap as the Oxford one to be available.
        In face the scientists who developed the Oxford vaccine have been totally open.
        (The media/press have not covered all of it which is the problem.)
        It is too complex to explain here but I have far more faith in the Oxford vaccine than any of the others due to the route used to achieve it.
        The BBC should have given this a far bigger airing:-

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        Evidence in the New York Times story suggests the Oxford/AstraZeneca people were NOT totally open.

        There are questions to be answered with all of them, I think mostly because of the haste to get a vaccine out. Having read the concerns in the NYT I had to report them.

  3. Hecuba

    There are a lot of unanswered questions concerning the Oxford/AstraZeneca trials and yet as usual fascist dick johnson utters stupid claims because he doesn’t know anything about science but he is a fake prime minister!

    Be sceptical concerning all these vaccine trials because they are never independent but connected to big pharma and that means profits at the expense of women’s and mens’ lives!

    Also as usual the fascist tories are censoring/hiding real science because profit is their only objective!

Comments are closed.