No project (fallback)

Are there microchip technologies that are small enough to pass through a syringe needle and allow people to be tracked?

Are there microchip technologies that are small enough to pass through a syringe needle and allow people to be tracked?

Expert reaction to preprint looking at the immune response in older people after vaccination the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine with either a 3-week or a 12-week dosing schedule, as posted on MedRxiv

An expert reaction to a preprint looking at the immune response in older people after vaccination the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine with either a 3-week or a 12-week dosing schedule, as posted on MedRxiv

Moderna to supply Australia with 25m doses of COVID-19 vaccine

The Australian Government has confirmed it has secured 25 million doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, following an announcement from the company overnight. This is the second messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine to be purchased by the Government, providing access to the current Moderna vaccine or variant-specific versions of the vaccine developed by Moderna, to address emerging viral variants.

Public health impact of delaying the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines

A study published in The BMJ looks at the public health impact of delaying the second dose of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

What do we know about the Sputnik V vaccine?

While early trial data is promising and Sputnik V appears to be safe and effective, some scientists are skeptical about the clinical trial data from Sputnik V's two-dose vaccine. The vaccine has been approved for full or emergency use in over 60 countries. Sputnik Light is a one-dose version of the vaccine and has only been approved in Russia.

Why do scientists feel we may not reach herd immunity?

Global leaders often speak of herd immunity as an end goal for stopping the pandemic, but actually achieving this status is much more complicated and difficult than many believe. It will be difficult for the world to achieve herd immunity against COVID-19 in the short-term, but preventing severe infections, hospitalizations, and excess deaths may be possible through widespread vaccination.

What do we know about the Pfizer vaccine and magnets?

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine’s list of ingredients, listed on the FDA’s website that allowed for its emergency use authorization include mRNA, lipids, potassium chloride, monobasic potassium phosphate, sodium chloride, dibasic sodium phosphate dihydrate, and sucrose. The vaccine is not known to contain any metals or cause any response to magnetic fields. In fact, the small quantity of iron found in the oxygenated blood of the human body is known to repel magnets, which is why we are able to get MRI scans done at hospitals.

U.S. FDA authorising Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use in adolescents

It has been announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has expanded the emergency use authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to include adolescents from 12 to 15 years old.

Kommentierte Publikationsliste: Wissenschaftliche Publikationen zu SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19

In unserer kommentierten Publikationsliste fassen wir wissenschaftliche Publikationen zu SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 zusammen und kommentieren die für die öffentlichen Diskussionen relevanten Paper. Dies soll als Anregung für eine mögliche Berichterstattung in der Flut der täglich erscheinenden Publikationen dienen. Offenkundig fehlerhafte oder bereits von seriösen Fachleuten widerlegte Publikationen werden wir nur dann in diese Sammlung aufnehmen, wenn irreführende Aussagen darüber breit zirkulieren in den journalistischen Medien. Diese Liste wird regelmäßig in einem Google Doc fortgeführt und aktualisiert und kann unter diesem Link abgerufen werden.

How do we know that COVID-19 vaccines are not being used to inject tracking chips?

No, COVID-19 vaccines are not being used to inject tracking chips. Health organizations, national health and drug regulatory agencies, and disease control centers would not approve vaccines that secretly track patients without their consent. For COVID-19 vaccines, rigorous clinical trials with tens of thousands of patients have occurred and full ingredient lists have been analyzed by health bodies before they approve or deny the use of a vaccine. Of the COVID-19 vaccines that have been approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) for emergency use, none of them have any tracking chips in their ingredients, immunization syringes, or any other place. COVID-19 vaccine vial labels may contain RFID chips for supply chain and inventory tracking purposes. Technology experts say that injecting microchips into a body would not be a practical way to track people due to current technical constraints as well as cost, particularly given existing alternatives for location tracking. The videos with false claims about COVID-19 vaccines containing microchips were determined to have manipulated footage. 

What do we know about fainting after the COVID-19 vaccine?

While there is no evidence that fainting is an immediate side effect of the COVID-19 vaccine for adults, adolescents, or kids, it can happen after any vaccination, especially among adolescents. Experts are not entirely sure why fainting occurs after vaccination, but believe that it is most likely related to the process of getting a vaccine itself--specifically pain and anxiety--which adolescents may be more prone to.

Real-world data on the Oxford-AstraZeneca and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines in protecting against death and hospitalisation from COVID-19

Two preprints, unpublished non-peer reviewed studies, by Public Health England (PHE), look at the effectiveness of the Oxford-AstraZeneca and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines in protecting against death and hospitalisation from COVID-19.

How long does protection last after a COVID-19 vaccine?

Current research shows that immunity lasts at least about 6 months for mRNA COVID-19 vaccines (the Pfizer vaccine and the Moderna vaccine). Some researchers estimate that immunity against COVID-19 following vaccination will last longer, but because the virus is so new, experts are not sure if protection might wane. More research is needed to better understand how long people will likely be protected after vaccination and how it might vary across different individuals and across different vaccines.

UK JCVI advice of a preference for adults aged 30 to 39 to receive an alternative to the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine and MHRA response

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has issued advice to the UK government on the use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for people under the age of 40.

What do we know about the Moderna vaccine so far?

The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is an mRNA vaccine with an efficacy rate of 94.1% in clinical trials. After completing several clinical trials, this vaccine has been approved for emergency use authorization in dozens of countries around the world.

Denmark and Norway study looking at rare blood clots after the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine

A study published in the BMJ looks at arterial events, venous thromboembolism, thrombocytopenia, and bleeding after vaccination with the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in Denmark and Norway.

Biden administration support for waiving intellectual property protections for COVID-19 vaccines

The U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai released a statement today announcing the Biden-Harris Administration’s support for waiving intellectual property (IP) protections for COVID-19 vaccines.

What are double and triple mutant variants? Why are they more dangerous?

Double and triple "mutant" variants have two or three significant mutations among the many other mutations within their genetic codes. As of now, we do not know if these variants are more transmissible or dangerous but early data suggests they may spread more easily from person to person.

Israel nation-wide study looking at Pfizer vaccine effectiveness

A observational study published in the Lancet looks at impact and effectiveness of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine against infections, cases, hospitalisations, and deaths following a nationwide vaccination campaign in Israel.

Novavax COVID-19 vaccine phase 2a-b trial in South Africa against the B.1.351 ‘South African’ variant

A paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) looks at results from the phase 2a-b trial of Novavax COVID-19 vaccine in South Africa.

Der Nutzen von Impfungen gegen SARS-CoV-2 bei Kindern

Sollten Kinder und Jugendliche auch gegen COVID-19 geimpft werden? Diese Frage stellt sich immer häufiger, da zwei Argumente weiter an Stärke gewinnen, die für das Impfen von Kindern sprechen: zum einen der Bevölkerungsschutz über die Herdenimmunität, zum anderen der Individualschutz von Kindern vor einer schweren Erkrankung.

Document produced for the UK SAGE looking at hospitalised vaccinated patients during the second COVID-19 wave in the UK

One of the documents informing the advice from the UK Scientific Advisory Group for Emergancies, looks at hospitalised vaccinated patients during the second wave in the UK.

Was gibt es zu den Daten zur SARS-CoV-2-Variante B.1.617 in Indien zu berichten?

Die SARS-CoV-2-Variante B.1.617, die sich derzeit stark in Indien verbreitet, kann durch Blutseren von genesenen COVID-19-Patienten und Blutseren von Geimpften neutralisiert werden. Diese Analyse haben indische Forschende in einer noch nicht begutachteten Vorabpublikation auf dem Preprint-Server bioRxiv veröffentlicht (siehe Primärquelle). Wir haben Wissenschaftler und Wissenschlaftlerinnen gefragt, inwiefern diese Studie zur Bewertung der Virusvariante beiträgt und inwiefern sie Rückschlüsse auf das Infektionsgeschen in Indien erlaubt. (siehe Primärquelle)

COVID-19 vaccination and household transmission

A preprint, an unpublished non-peer reviewed study, by Public Health England (PHE) suggests one dose of either the Oxford-AstraZeneca or Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine may reduce household transmission by up to half.

What are the ingredients in the AstraZeneca vaccine?

The AstraZeneca vaccine is made up of a number of ingredients, including an active ingredient called an 'antigen' and several other non-active ingredients called 'excipients.' These ingredients range from forms of salt that help preserve the vaccine to water that dilutes it into the right concentration.

Do COVID-19 vaccines cause shingles?

There is no evidence that any of the approved COVID-19 vaccines cause herpes zoster, also known as shingles. While there have been cases of shingles occurring following COVID-19 vaccines, there is no evidence that these cases are directly caused by the vaccines. It likely would have occurred regardless. If anyone thinks they might have shingles, they should contact their doctor as soon as possible for treatment.

What do we know so far about COVID-19 vaccines and their impact on menstruation?

While several women are reporting temporary irregularities in their menstrual cycle, there is no scientific evidence available yet on the causal link between the COVID-19 vaccine and its effect on menstruation. Furthermore, there is no evidence that any of the COVID-19 vaccines could impact fertility or lead to a loss of fertility.   Getting vaccinated during one’s menstrual cycle does not pose any risks and the menstrual cycle has not been reported to have any effect on the vaccine efficacy. Vaccines should be taken as early as possible regardless of the timing of one’s menstrual cycle.

What are the best metrics to use for calculating vaccines per country?

Two of the most common ways to measure vaccines in a country are the number of vaccines administered per 100 people in a specified area, or the percentage of a population that has been vaccinated with one or two doses. There are many metrics which can be used, depending on the need.

Antibody response to COVID-19 vaccine in patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease who take the medicine infliximab

A study published in Gut looks at antibody response to vaccination with the Pfizer-BioNTech or Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) patients treated with infliximab, an anti-tumour necrosis factor (anti-TNF) biologic drug.

Media reports suggesting Israel’s Health Ministry is examining a small number of cases of myocarditis in people who had received the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine

There have been reports that Israel’s Health Ministry said on Sunday it is examining a small number of cases of myocarditis (heart inflammation) after receiving the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

Are COVID-19 vaccines causing new COVID-19 variants?

There is no evidence that vaccines are a source of new COVID-19 variants, or that vaccinated people are more likely to infect others with COVID-19 variants.

How does the vaccine work against a mutating virus?

Vaccines are broad in targeting the COVID-19 virus' early genetic codes. Current vaccines offer some protection against variants, but they will likely need to be adjusted to work against some newer variants.

How do COVID-19 vaccine antibodies differ from ones produced from a natural infection?

The COVID-19 antibodies that your body develops from getting vaccinated are mostly the same kind of antibodies you develop from an infection.

Are vaccinated individuals more likely to be infected with and transmit virus variants?

There is currently no research to suggest that vaccinated people would be more likely than their unvaccinated counterparts to transmit variants of SARS-CoV-2. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has stated that "a growing body of evidence suggests that fully vaccinated people are less likely to have asymptomatic infection and potentially less likely to transmit SARS-CoV-2 to others." The U.S. CDC also says there is evidence that the currently authorized COVID-19 vaccines provide at least some level of protection against variants of concern, including B.1.1.7 originally identified in the U.K. and B.1.351 originally identified in South Africa. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends widespread vaccinations to potentially help reduce the transmission of current variants, as well as prevent the emergence of new variants. More research is being conducted to learn more.

UK Yellow Card reporting on COVID-19 vaccines published by the MHRA, including updated numbers of CVST and other thrombosis events with low platelets

The latest weekly summary of Yellow Card reporting has been published by the Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), and includes updated numbers of Cerebral Venous Sinus Thrombosis (CVST) and other thrombosis events with low blood platelets (thrombocytopenia).

What do we know about Sinovac's COVID-19 vaccine?

CoronaVac is Sinovac Biotech's COVID-19 vaccine and uses a "killed" version of the COVID-19 virus. It cannot cause disease but can still trigger an immune response in its recipients. While the efficacy rates of the vaccine are mixed, CoronaVac appears to meet the World Health Organization's requirements for 50% minimal protection against severe symptomatic infections of the virus.

Is there any evidence that a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine can directly lead to adverse effects or death?

Most vaccines and medications cause side effects, but there is no evidence to support the claim that a second COVID-19 vaccine injection can lead to death. Some severe side effects like blood clots are possibly linked to the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines in very rare cases, but there is not enough evidence to determine whether or not the vaccines are associated with this adverse effect. Not all vaccines have two doses. Of the vaccines that do, some are just now beginning to roll out, including those with little data. Though people have died after receiving vaccines, there have been no direct reports that have noted vaccines were the reason those people died.

What are blood clotting reactions VIPIT and CSVT and do vaccines cause them?

VIPIT and CSVT are acronyms for rare blood clotting reactions that have occurred in people who have received AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccines. It is uncertain whether or not the vaccines caused these clotting issues, but researchers are currently working to determine whether or not there is a link.

EMA finding a possible link between the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine and very rare cases of unusual blood clots with low blood platelets

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has published a press release stating it finds a possible link between the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine and very rare cases of unusual blood clots with low blood platelets, but confirms that overall benefit-risk remains positive.

Brain blood clots may be more likely after COVID-19 infection than following vaccines (preprint)

The risk of rare blood clotting known as cerebral venous thrombosis (CVT) following COVID-19 infection is around 100 times greater than normal, and several times higher than it is post-vaccination or following influenza, according to research from the UK. The research has not been published in a journal and is yet to be peer-reviewed. The authors report that CVT is more common after COVID-19 than after the first dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, or following influenza. The authors then also refer to the risk of CVT following the AstraZeneca vaccine using data from the European Medicines Agency and say the risk of CVT from COVID-19 infection is also higher than the rate reported for this vaccine.

What is vaccine-induced thrombosis and thrombocytopenia (VITT)?

Professor Beng Chong an expert on heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT), a condition that closely resembles the blood clot condition linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine. Professor Chong explains what we know about vaccine-induced thrombosis and thrombocytopenia.

What do we know about vaccine passports?

A “vaccine passport” is a proof that someone has been vaccinated against COVID-19. Currently, vaccine passports are being debated in the public health community for their many pros and cons. Vaccine passports are also being used, or planned to be used, in different ways across and within countries globally, which is a trend that is likely to continue.

Why would it have been hard for AstraZeneca to discover blood clots in clinical trials?

The AstraZeneca vaccine went through rigorous Phase 3 testing and regulatory approval processes before being administered in the general public where it has been approved. In the reported Phase 3 trial data of more than 23,000 people, a total of 175 severe adverse events were reported (84 in the study group, 91 in the control group). Three events were considered possibly related to either the control or experimental vaccine. These events included one case of hemolytic anemia (in the phase 1/2 study control group), one case of transverse myelitis (in the study group 14 days after the second vaccine dose), and a case of high fever without another diagnosis (the patient information remains masked as part of the trial). Blood clots were not mentioned in the study published online on December 8, 2020. In clinical trials, it can be very difficult to identify uncommon side effects or serious adverse events (or reactions). When an event is uncommon, it can take a very large study group for it to be observed in research even once. Vaccine studies are designed to evaluate if the vaccine works, and if it is safe. COVID-19 vaccines were studied in clinical trials with thousands of participants before emergency use approval. Even with diverse and large study groups, it is possible that some side effects, reactions, or serious adverse events may not have been seen in the study population. Events that only occur in a few people out of a million or more can be very difficult to detect. In statistics there is a formula that is sometimes used to estimate how many people would need to be studied to detect a serious adverse reaction (SAR). The formula is called the rule of three. For example, if a medication were to cause a SAR in 1 person in every 1,000, then a company would need to study 3,000 people (the rule of 3) in order to have a 95% chance of observing or detecting even one case. For even more rare events that may occur in 1 person in every 10,000, a company would need to study 30,000 people to have a 95% chance of observing or detecting one case. For comparison, the type of rare blood clotting that was observed is estimated to occur in only a few people out of every million.  To help understand more rare adverse effects, drugs and vaccines are studied even after they are approved for the public. Data collection continues for years. This Phase 4 study (or observation) continues as the sample size of the study population is much larger, currently in the many millions for the COVID-19 vaccines. Researchers are continuing to gather data and information about events that occur in people who have received the vaccine. In Epidemiology: An Introduction, a text by Kenneth Rothman, the author notes that a lot of the data around drug safety “comes from studies that are conducted after a drug is marketed.” For the COVID-19 vaccines, government agencies (like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and others) are collecting data about possible adverse events. Suspected adverse events are reported to the agency, and the agency investigates further. A reported or possible association does not mean that a vaccine caused an event to happen.  Trained researchers monitor and analyze data from these reports. They try to evaluate whether it is likely that the reaction was caused by the vaccine. To do so, they study the possible pathways that could cause the reaction to occur. They also compare the probability of the reaction in those who have been vaccinated to the probability of the reaction in those who have not. Now that many millions of people are being vaccinated with the new COVID-19 vaccines, it is not surprising that some rare events, like allergic reactions and blood clots, are being reported. Researchers now need to work to determine if the events are related to the vaccines and why. Many thousands of blood clots are diagnosed every year. Immobility, surgery, obesity, and smoking are some of the many risk factors. According to the European Medicines Agency, it is possible that blood clots could also be related to receiving the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. There has not been evidence of issues related to specific batches or a particular manufacturing site for the AstraZeneca vaccine. As of April 4, 2021, a total of 222 cases of thrombosis (169 cases of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis and 53 cases of splanchnic vein thrombosis have been reported) have been reported to EudraVigilance - the European system for managing information about serious adverse reactions to medicines. About 34 million people had been vaccinated in the European Economic Area and United Kingdom by this date.  On April 7, 2021, the European Medicines Agency safety committee concluded “that unusual blood clots with low blood platelets should be listed as very rare side effects of Vaxzevria (formerly COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca).” The U.K. regulatory agency recommended alternatives to the AstraZeneca vaccine to be given to people under 30 years of age, following 79 reported cases of blood clotting and 19 deaths. As of April 16, 2021, the Australian regulatory agency is also conducting a review of the AstraZeneca vaccine following three reported instances of rare clotting, including one fatal case. AstraZeneca has not applied for regulatory approval in the United States, but another viral vector vaccine for COVID-19 made by Johnson & Johnson is also under review for rare blood clotting as of April 13, 2021. Regulatory agencies take vaccine safety seriously and often exercise an abundance of caution. COVID-19 vaccines have been credited with saving lives and reducing hospitalizations on a large scale. 

UK JCVI advice on COVID-19 vaccination for pregnant women

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has advised that pregnant women should be offered the COVID-19 vaccine at the same time as the rest of the population, based on their age and clinical risk group.

Preprint on rare CVT clots after COVID-19 infection vs vaccination

Expert reaction to preprint (not a published paper) looking at incidence of rare cerebral venous thrombosis (CVT) following COVID-19 infection compared to incidence after vaccination or influenza.

What is the risk of CVT following COVID-19, and how it compares to the risk with vaccines

We now know that Cerebral venous thrombosis (CVT) has been reported to occur in about 5 in a million people after first dose of the AZ-Oxford COVID-19 vaccine. But a key question is currently unknown: what is the risk of CVT following a diagnosis of COVID-19? We might expect this to be increased because COVID-19 is associated with other clotting disorders like stroke and brain haemorrhage. New research from the University of Oxford has addressed this question using the TriNetX electronic health records network, recently used to show the neurological and psychiatric consequences of COVID-19 published at the SMC last week. The researchers, led by Professor Paul Harrison and Dr Maxime Taquet from the Department of Psychiatry, counted the number of CVT cases diagnosed in the two weeks after a diagnosis of COVID-19 or after the first dose of vaccine. Please note this data is a preprint, so it is early work that has not yet been through peer-review and is not published in a journal.

NZ's Medsafe seeks more info on Janssen Covid-19 vaccine – Expert Reaction

New Zealand’s medicines regulator has asked for more information from Janssen, with countries putting the company’s Covid-19 vaccine on hold due to rare blood clot concerns. The Janssen vaccine was next in line to be approved for use in New Zealand, but over the past few days the US, EU, and South Africa have all suspended its use. The SMC asked experts to comment.

What do we know about mRNA vaccine side effects?

There is no evidence to suggest that mRNA COVID-19 vaccines or non-mRNA COVID-19 vaccines would result in death, neuro-cognitive issues, debilitating/long-term inflammation, or infertility. 

What do we know about how the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is connected to cases of blood clots?

SciLine reaches out to our network of scientific experts and poses commonly asked questions about newsworthy topics. Reporters can use these responses in news stories, with attribution to the expert.

If someone already got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, should they be worried? Are there symptoms they should watch for?

SciLine reaches out to our network of scientific experts and poses commonly asked questions about newsworthy topics. Reporters can use these responses in news stories, with attribution to the expert.

Two major adenoviral-vectored vaccines—Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca—have been paused because of blood clots. Is there a connection?

SciLine reaches out to our network of scientific experts and poses commonly asked questions about newsworthy topics. Reporters can use these responses in news stories, with attribution to the expert.

How does today’s news on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine from FDA and CDC reflect on the safety of COVID vaccines generally?

SciLine reaches out to our network of scientific experts and poses commonly asked questions about newsworthy topics. Reporters can use these responses in news stories, with attribution to the expert.

How might pausing the Johnson & Johnson vaccine alter vaccine rollout in the U.S?

SciLine reaches out to our network of scientific experts and poses commonly asked questions about newsworthy topics. Reporters can use these responses in news stories, with attribution to the expert.

Coronavirus, Janssen vaccine situation in US and Europe

Expert reaction to Janssen COVID-19 vaccine situation in US and Europe (CDC and FDA recommending a pause in the US while they review six cases of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) in combination with low levels of blood platelets (thrombocytopenia); and Johnson & Johnson deciding to proactively delay the rollout of the vaccine in Europe)

Blood clot safety advice changes Aussie COVID-19 vaccine plans

Australia's COVID-19 vaccine rollout has hit a major hurdle with the Government announcing it will accept the advice of the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) and prioritise the Pfizer vaccine over the AstraZeneca vaccine for Australians under 50.

Could Covid-19 mutations weaken vaccines? – Expert Q&A

A new Covid-19 mutation nicknamed ‘Eek’, which could reduce vaccine efficacy, is becoming increasingly prevalent. Overseas researchers have said the increase in dominance of variants carrying E484K mutations could seriously complicate vaccination efforts. The SMC posed questions about mutations and vaccines to experts.

Blood clots declared a very rare side effect of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

The European Medicines Agency has declared a possible link between AstraZeneca's COVID vaccine and rare blood-clotting issues confirming they should be listed as a very rare side effect. There are also reports the Australian Government has asked the national regulator to look into these findings. Below Australian experts comment.

Covid-19 vaccine safety monitoring in NZ – Expert reaction

New Zealand’s medicines regulator has published its first report on adverse reactions experienced by New Zealanders getting the Pfizer Covid-19 jab. There were three serious cases reported out of the more than 15,000 doses given from 20 February to 6 March. Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said this afternoon that all three serious cases were considered allergic reactions and were managed appropriately, and that one of them was classified as an anaphylactic reaction.

MHRA and EMA statements in relation to the AstraZeneca vaccine and rare blood clots and low blood platelets

Medicines regulatory bodies in the UK and Europe, the Medicines and Health products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and European Medicines Agency (EMA) respectively, have released statements on the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine and cases of rare blood clots and low blood platelets.

Ongoing uncertainty around Oxford-AstraZenca COVID-19 vaccine and clotting

Several media reports mention comments made by the European Medicines Agency’s head of vaccine strategy, Marco Cavaleri, who told an Italian newspaper: “In my opinion we can now say it, it is clear that there is an association with the vaccine. However, we still do not know what causes this reaction.”

Valneva reporting phase 1 and 2 data of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate

Valneva have published a press release reporting positive phase 1/2 data for its inactivated, adjuvanted COVID-19 vaccine candidate, VLA2001.

Are COVID-19 vaccines causing new COVID-19 variants?

There is no evidence that vaccines are a source of new COVID-19 variants, or that vaccinated people are more likely to infect others with COVID-19 variants.

MHRA Yellow Card reporting following COVID-19 vaccination, including updated numbers of CVST and other thrombosis events with low platelets

The latest weekly summary of Yellow Card reporting has been published by the Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), including updated numbers of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) and other thrombosis events with low platelets.

Pfizer and BioNTech release on efficacy and safety up to six months after second vaccine dose, including data from South Africa

Pfizer have published a press release stating that updated analysis of their Phase 3 study confirms high efficacy and no serious safety concerns up to 6 months following the second dose of their COVID-19 vaccine.

Welche Therapieoptionen gegen COVID-19 gibt es jetzt?

Die SARS-CoV-2-Variante B.1.1.7 breitet sich in Europa rasant aus und mehrere Länder erleben eine dritte Infektionswelle. Die SARS-CoV-2-Variante B.1.1.7 breitet sich in Europa rasant aus und mehrere Länder erleben eine dritte Infektionswelle.

Results announced by Pfizer-BioNTech on a phase 3 trial of their COVID-19 vaccine in adolescents

Pfizer have published a press release announcing positive topline results of their phase 3 trial of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in adolescents 12 to 15 years of age.

Preprint looking at blood clotting events following vaccination with AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine

A preprint, an unpublished non-peer reviewed study, posted on Research Square looks at the clinical and laboratory features of 9 patients who exhibited blood clotting events following vaccination with the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

Parts of Germany suspending the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for under-60s

It has been reported that parts Germany have suspended the use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca in people below the age of 60 amid fresh concerns over blood clotting events.

Preprint looking at immune response after a first dose of the Pfizer vaccine in those with and without prior infection with SARS-CoV-2

A preprint, an unpublished non-peer reviewed study, looks at the T-cell and antibody respondes to the first dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in previously infected and infection-naïve UK healthcare workers.

AstraZeneca announcing primary data on safety and efficacy from the US trial of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

AstraZeneca have published a press release stating that the primary analysis of the Phase III trial of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in the US have confirmed vaccine efficacy consistent with the pre-specified interim analysis announced on Monday 22 March 2021.

Data on the impact of COVID-19 vaccines on mortality in England

Analysis carried out by Public Health England (PHE) suggests that COVID-19 vaccines have prevented thousands of deaths in those aged 70 and older in England in the initial months of the vaccine programme.

What is the COVID-19 arm rash?

The COVID-19 arm rash is a side effect from the vaccine that can cause an itchy or painful rash on the arms of people who have received a vaccine. The rash is harmless and tends to go away within a few days but can be treated with histamine medication or some pain medication if symptoms persist.

AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine efficacy questioned

The US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) has released a statement suggesting AstraZeneca may have included outdated information in the trial of its COVID-19 vaccine, which may have provided an incomplete view of the efficacy data. AstraZeneca has released a response to the NIAID statement here. Below, Australian experts respond to the report.

The use of COVID-19 vaccines in children

A Daily Telegraph exclusive article (https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2021/03/23/exclusive-children-line-covid-vaccines-august/) reported on discussions around children in the UK being offered COVID-19 vaccines in summer. A spokesperson from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has said: “no decisions have been made on whether children should be offered vaccinations”.

MIQ worker in NZ tests positive after vaccination

A managed isolation and quarantine worker (MIQ) worker in Auckland, New Zealand, has tested positive for Covid-19 after receiving their second vaccine dose.

NIAID statement on the DSMB expressing concern about information released by AstraZeneca on initial data from its COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial in the US

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) has released a statement that the Data and Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) has expressed concern that AstraZeneca may have included outdated information from the US clinical trial of their COVID-19 vaccine, and that this information may have provided an incomplete view of the efficacy data.

What do we know so far about the AstraZeneca vaccine?

The University of Oxford vaccine is being developed and produced by AstraZeneca plc, Inc. and is an adenovirus vaccine (ChAdOx1/AZD1222) currently in Phase 2 and 3 trials in the United Kingdom and India, and in Phase 3 trials in Brazil, South Africa, and the United States. As of December 30, 2020, the vaccine has been authorized for emergency use in adults over 18 years of age in the United Kingdom. Here's a breakdown of everything you need to know so far about this vaccine's development.

What do we know so far about AstraZeneca's vaccine?

AstraZeneca worked in partnership with the University of Oxford to create their vaccine for COVID-19. This vaccine has been approved for emergency use authorization in dozens of countries around the world and uses a formula called a 'viral vector' where a weakened common cold virus (adenovirus) is used to deliver instructions to the body for how to fight COVID-19.

AstraZeneca announcing interim data on safety and efficacy from the US trial of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

AstraZeneca has published a press release announcing that the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine US Phase 3 trial met primary efficacy endpoint in preventing COVID-19 at interim analysis.

UK MHRA statement on the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine and blood clots

The UK medicines regulator has released a statement following suspensions of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine by some European countries over suspected blood clots.

Announcement from European Medicines Agency (EMA) on Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine and blood clots

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) have concluded that the benefits of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine still outweigh the risks despite possible link to rare blood clots with low blood platelets.

What do we know about the AstraZeneca vaccine and blood clotting?

A recent string of blood clotting events in people who had received the AstraZeneca vaccine caused several European nations to halt their use of the shots while they investigated. The European Medicines Agency said that the benefit of the vaccine outweighs the risks and though there have been no direct links between these blood clotting events and the vaccine itself, they will continue to research.

NHS reporting reduced vaccine supply in April

The UK NHS has warned of a significant reduction in COVID-19 vaccine supply in England next month.

Should Australia suspend use of the AstraZeneca COVID vaccine?

Several European countries, including Germany and France, have now suspended use of the Oxford/AstraZeneca (AZ) vaccine after reports of blood clots. Australian senator Matt Canavan has also called on Australia to pause its use of this vaccine. Here, Australian experts comment.

European countries pausing the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine over fears of blood clotting

A series of European countries have paused their roll out of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

News that Germany has halted vaccinations with the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

It has been reported that Germany have now halted the administration of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine following reports of adverse events related to blood clots in some countries.

European countries put AstraZeneca vaccine on pause

Ireland has joined a growing list of European countries pausing their use of the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine after reports of blood clotting. The vaccine manufacturer says its review of the reports show the jab does not increase the risk of blood clotting. New Zealand agreed to purchase enough of the vaccine to immunise 3.8 million people, alongside agreements it made with three other suppliers. New Zealand experts comment on the decisions.

Reports that Ireland has suspended the use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine

There have been reports that the use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine has been suspended in the Republic of Ireland following reports of blood clotting events in Norway.

Novavax announcement that their vaccine has high efficacy

Novavax have published a press release stating that their COVID-19 vaccine candidate has shown high levels of efficacy against original and variant COVID-19 strains in United Kingdom and South Africa Trials.

Reported Italy pause of a batch of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine as a precaution after two deaths in Sicily

It has been reported that Italy has paused vaccination with the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine as a precaution following the deaths of two men in Sicily.

EMA recommending the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine for authorisation in the EU

It has been announced that the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has recommended the single-dose Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine for authorisation in the EU.

Reports that Denmark has paused vaccination with the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine as a precaution after some reports of blood clots

There have been reports that vaccination with the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is suspended until further notice in Denmark after reports of cases of blood clots.

Preprint looking at antibody immune response following one dose of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in cancer patients

A preprint, an unpublished non-peer reviewed study, looks at the safety and immune-efficacy of 1 versus 2 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in cancer patients.

Commentary on vaccination priorities and ethnicity

A commentary piece published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine addresses the UK’s colour-blind strategy to COVID-19 vaccine allocation.

What do we know about the risks of combining more than one of the approved vaccines?

For COVID-19 vaccines that require more than one dose, such as the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, researchers are still learning about the outcomes of mixing a first dose of one vaccine with a second dose of another. In the clinical trials that have led to emergency authorization of COVID-19 vaccines, combining doses from different vaccines has not yet been tested. This means that scientists do not yet know if combining doses from different COVID-19 vaccine candidates will be as effective or safe. To help provide more data, a clinical trial was announced on February 8, 2021 to begin testing the combination of one dose from the AstraZeneca vaccine candidate with one dose from the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine candidate. This clinical trial, dubbed Com-Cov, is being led by the University of Oxford and is considered the first in the world to test the combination of different COVID-19 vaccine candidates. Enrollment of 820 participants over 50 years of age is starting, and scientists hope this clinical trial can provide more data and insights by the summer of 2021. It is important to remember that outcomes can potentially vary depending on which COVID-19 vaccines are mixed. For this reason, the first clinical trial testing a combination of the AstraZeneca and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine candidates may eventually add additional vaccine candidates. As more COVID-19 vaccine candidates become ready for approval, more studies may be needed to understand the outcomes of combining doses between the multiple available vaccine candidates. There are many potential benefits to being able to combine COVID-19 vaccine candidates, which is why scientists are eager for more data to evaluate this. Ramping up COVID-19 vaccine supplies and coordinating distribution remain a challenge, so being able to give vaccines based on availability could mean more people receive the vaccinations faster and more lives are saved. The U.K.'s deputy chief medical officer has said that there may be benefits to having data that could support more "flexible" vaccination programs, since there is currently an insufficient global supply of COVID-19 vaccines. Beyond the logistical benefits, there could potentially be immunological benefits of using two different vaccines to combat the same pathogen in certain cases. For COVID-19 vaccines that are given in two doses, the "prime" dose is followed by a "boost" dose to help stimulate and amplify the body's immune response, with the goal of developing immunological memory to protect against COVID-19 infections in the future. The strategy of using doses from different vaccines is known as "heterologous prime-boost." Some COVID-19 vaccine candidates, like the Russian Sputnik V, have even been designed to use this strategy with the first and second doses containing different viral components. With newer and faster-spreading variants of COVID-19 emerging around the world, some of which could be partially resistant to immune responses triggered by the vaccines, scientists are also planning to investigate whether combining different vaccines can help offer more protection. Multiple COVID-19 vaccine candidates have been developed in record speed to help combat the global pandemic. In order to take full advantage of every tool that is available for pandemic response, scientists are studying the potential of combining doses from different COVID-19 vaccine candidates. As more data becomes available, public health experts and policymakers will be able to make more informed decisions about "mixing and matching" COVID-19 vaccine doses.

Priority groups for Covid-19 vaccination in New Zealand

Those at high risk of Covid-19 in south Auckland and certain aged care facilities will be priorities for the vaccine roll-out after border and frontline healthcare workers. Following this group will be over-65s and people with underlying health conditions across the country. The vaccine will then be distributed to the remainder of the population. The SMC asked experts to comment on the roll-out plan.

NEJM correspondence paper looking at the neutralising activity of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 variants in the lab

A correspondence paper, published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), looks at the neutralising activity of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine-elicited serum against different SARS-CoV-2 variants.

Aviation worker tests positive for Covid-19 shortly after vaccination

An Air New Zealand flight attendant tested positive for Covid-19 on Sunday, shortly after receiving a shot of the Pfizer vaccine. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday morning the vaccine takes a couple of weeks to work, so they wouldn’t have expected the person to be protected from the virus. The SMC asked experts to comment.

Vaccine Basics

Vaccines have delivered enormous public health benefits including the global eradication of smallpox, the near eradication of polio, and greatly reduced incidence of measles, meningitis, and other serious and potentially fatal diseases. Even before the approval of vaccines to protect against COVID-19, which in its first year killed about 2.5 million people worldwide, vaccines were regularly preventing two million to three million deaths per year. A large body of rigorous science has clearly and repeatedly shown that vaccines in use today—which rely on several different strategies to impart immunity—are exceedingly safe, with benefits greatly outweighing risks for individuals in groups recommended to get them.

Vaccine Successes and Current Uses

A large body of rigorous science has clearly and repeatedly shown that vaccines in use today are exceedingly safe, with benefits greatly outweighing risks for individuals in groups recommended to get them. Contrary to widely disseminated misinformation about the purported dangers of vaccines, serious adverse health effects are very rare, while public health benefits are vast.

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