AstraZeneca vaccine syringes
Source: Getty

AstraZeneca vaccine syringes

Is the AstraZeneca Vaccine Approved in the U.S.?

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Mar. 15 2021, Updated 1:58 p.m. ET

The global effort to develop a coronavirus vaccine has resulted in multiple options to inoculate the population against the virus. AstraZeneca, which created its vaccine in conjunction with Oxford University, confirmed that people get 70 percent protection after the first dose. The AstraZeneca vaccine hasn't been approved for use in the U.S. yet.  

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Several countries have halted using AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine due to concerns over blood clotting issues. Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, and the northern Piedmont region of Italy have stopped using this particular vaccine.  

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AstraZeneca stated on March 14 that there was “no scientific evidence of any link between its coronavirus vaccine and recent deaths in Europe from blood clots,” as reported by The Washington Post.  

Health and vaccine experts worry that the countries not using AstraZeneca’s vaccine will delay the worldwide campaign to vaccinate three-quarters of the population. Among 17 million who have received the AstraZeneca shots, 15 experienced deep-vein thrombosis and 22 had pulmonary embolisms.  

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The chief medical officer at AstraZeneca, Ann Taylor, noted that this number of blood-clotting events among vaccinated people is lower than what normally occurs in a general population of the same size. 

Which vaccine does AstraZeneca make?

AstraZeneca's vaccine was produced in partnership with Oxford University. This version of the coronavirus vaccine received its European Union approval at the end of January. AstraZeneca’s vaccine is the third vaccine recommended by the European Commission. 

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A vaccine safety expert at the University of Auckland, Helen Petousis-Harris, said that you need to be careful when ceasing the use of a vaccine. Bloomberg reported her statement that it’s “sending a message that there could be something very wrong with the vaccine” even though that is “very unlikely.”  

AstraZeneca versus Pfizer

Once AstraZeneca gets approval in the U.S., it would become another option in addition to the vaccines made by Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, and Pfizer. Like the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, AstraZeneca is a two-dose inoculation process.  

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Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines are about 80 percent effective after the first dose, while AstraZeneca’s is 70 percent effective after one dose.  

A recent survey of EU nations measured perceptions of vaccine safety. More people in Germany, Italy, and France said they would prefer Pfizer or Moderna to the AstraZeneca vaccine, while U.K. citizens viewed AstraZeneca’s as safer than Pfizer or Moderna, according to Bloomberg

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covid vaccine preferences
Source: Unsplash

Why the U.S. hasn’t approved AstraZeneca’s vaccine

Although some people might think that the FDA is moving too slowly on approving the AstraZeneca vaccine, the U.S. hasn’t authorized it because the company hasn’t applied for approval yet. A company spokesperson said that the Phase III study results are required from the U.S. before the FDA can evaluate an emergency use authorization (EUA) request.  

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AstraZeneca plans to apply for EUA by the end of March or the beginning of April. The company said in February that it had the ability to deliver 30 million doses in the U.S. once it’s approved.   

The U.S. has a small stockpile of the AstraZeneca vaccine in warehouses that will be deployed if emergency use authorization is granted.  

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