AZ vax looks more effective in the real world

May 20, 2021

After months of dealing with reputational and rollout setbacks, there’s good news about the AstraZeneca/University of Oxford vaccine. 

According to analysis by Public Health England (PHE), the shot has been shown to be 85-90% effective at preventing symptomatic illness in a real-world setting. In a recent weekly surveillance report, PHE in fact reported that the jab appeared to be 89% effective compared to people who have not been vaccinated.

This estimate is higher than data the company posted in March from a U.S. study that showed it was closer to 80% effective.

Several countries have halted the use of the AZ vaccine due to blood clot fears. Most recently, Brazil’s health regulator suspended the use of the shot in pregnant women after several incidents involving strokes that could be linked to the vaccine.

Although the UK began rolling out the AZ vax in December, the company has yet to win an approval in the U.S. The goal had been to seek FDA authorization by mid-April, but the company recently reported that it was struggling to pull together all of the needed data from its phase 3 trials and that it will seek approval in later in the spring. Recent reports have also indicated that AZ might seek a full approval with the FDA rather than an emergency use authorization.