J&J, AstraZeneca Face Headwinds In Europe
Johnson & Johnson will delay its European vaccine rollout, Denmark says it found a link between AstraZeneca's vaccine and rare blood clots and the EU Commission intends to end contracts for both companies' vaccines.
Johnson & Johnson Delays Vaccine Rollout In Europe Amid U.S. Pause
Johnson & Johnson on Tuesday said it will delay its COVID-19 vaccine rollout in Europe, after the U.S. recommended a pause on administering it "out of an abundance of caution" after several women developed a rare blood clot disorder after getting the shot. J&J was set to send 50 million doses of its one-shot coronavirus vaccine to the European Union within the next few weeks. But the company now says it is reviewing cases of the "extremely rare" blood clotting with European authorities. (Perano, 4/13)
AstraZeneca Covid Vaccine: Denmark Sees Plausible Link Between Shots, Clots
Denmark, which has suspended AstraZeneca’s vaccine the past month, said there’s a plausible link between the shot and blood clots. The side effect of patients getting so-called thrombosis in combination with thrombocytopenia is “very rare” but of a higher probability than in the general population, the Danish Medicines Agency said in a statement on Tuesday. Denmark has since March 11 suspended AstraZeneca’s vaccine and is due to announce whether to start using it again later this week. (Buttler, 4/13)
EU Commission To End AstraZeneca And J&J Vaccine Contracts At Expiry - Paper
The EU Commission has decided not to renew COVID-19 vaccine contracts next year with companies such as AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson (J&J), Italian daily La Stampa reported on Wednesday citing a source from the Italian Health Ministry. “The European Commission, in agreement with the leaders of many (EU) countries, has decided that the contracts with the companies that produce (viral vector) vaccines that are valid for the current year will not be renewed at their expiry,” the newspaper reported. It added that Brussels would rather focus on COVID-19 vaccines using messenger RNA (mRNA) technology, such as Pfizer’s and Moderna’s. (4/14)
UK Trial On Switching COVID-19 Vaccines Adds Moderna And Novavax Shots
A UK study into using different COVID-19 vaccines in two-dose inoculations is being expanded to include shots made by Moderna and Novavax, researchers said on Wednesday. The trial, known as the Com-Cov study, was first launched in February to look at whether giving a first dose of one type of COVID-19 shot, and a second dose of another, elicits an immune response that is as good as using two doses of the same vaccine. The idea, said Matthew Snape, the Oxford University professor leading the trial, “is to explore whether the multiple COVID-19 vaccines that are available can be used more flexibly”. (Kelland, 4/14)
Are China’s Covid Shots Less Effective? Experts Size Up Sinovac
The lower protection rates of China’s Covid-19 vaccines have raised concerns about shots that are key to inoculation rollouts from Brazil to Indonesia, especially after their efficacy was questioned by one of the most senior Chinese health officials. Bloomberg spoke to two experts about the vaccines, zeroing in on the Sinovac Biotech Ltd. shot, which has been the focus of a crisis in confidence after it posted efficacy levels of just above 50% in a final stage trial in Brazil -- the minimum level required by leading global drug regulators. Other Chinese immunizations have delivered rates from 66% to 79%, still far behind the shots developed by Pfizer Inc., Moderna Inc. and even Russia’s Sputnik vaccine that have logged protection rates of more than 90%. (4/13)
And ahead of the Olympics —
Tokyo Olympics: With 100 Days To Go Japan Has Vaccinated Less Than 1% Of Its Population. That's A Problem.
When 2020 Tokyo Olympics volunteers have in recent weeks asked officials how they'll be protected from Covid-19, given the foreign athletes pouring into Japan for the event and the country's low vaccination rate, the answer has been simple. They'll be given a small bottle of hand sanitizer and two masks each. "They don't talk about vaccines, they don't even talk about us being tested," said German volunteer Barbara Holthus, who is director of Sophia University's German Institute for Japanese Studies, in Tokyo. (Essig, Jozuka and Westcott, 4/14)